Google confirms acquisition of virtual currency firm Jambool

Confirming earlier rumors, Google has announced the acquisition of virtual-currency startup Jambool for an undisclosed price. Jambool confirmed the deal in a letter on its website today.

TechCrunch had previously reported that Google was buying the maker of the Social Gold currency platform for $55 million, with another $15 million to $20 million in earnouts, or conditional payments to the company’s founders and employees.

The move will shore up Google’s capabilities in monetizing social games and social apps. In turn, that will ready Google for its upcoming war with Facebook. Google is widely believed to be working on its own social network, for launch this fall, in direct competition with Facebook.

To ready for that, Google is investing an estimated $150 million in Zynga and it also acquired social app maker Slide for $228 million.

Here’s the text of the letter from Jambool’s founders, Vikas Gupta and Reza Hussein:

We are excited to announce that Jambool is becoming a part of the Google family today.

Jambool started as a social collaboration platform in 2006. In 2007, we shifted our focus to build applications on social networks. Along with success, we found fun and lucrative ways to monetize our apps – specifically virtual currency and goods. That led us to create a platform to help developers create, host, manage and monetize their virtual economies.

Social Gold has grown by leaps and bounds since it went live in 2008. In the first half of 2010, we’ve processed more than double the entire payment volume we processed in all of 2009. And we’ve welcomed hundreds of developers to our platform. The fact that our highest revenue day was in the last week attests to the continued growth of online gaming.

Our vision is to build world-class products that help developers manage and monetize their virtual economies across the globe. When the opportunity arose to join forces with Google to execute against this vision, we couldn’t pass it up. We are thrilled to bring the Social Gold platform to Google’s global users. And we invite you – our customers, partners, and friends – to continue on the journey with us.

Over the last few years, we have had the great fortune of working with an incredible team. Every day, we are amazed and humbled by what they have accomplished. We have had terrific support from our partners, investors and advisors; and we are
lucky to have worked with each of them. Thank you!

As a team, we remain passionate about innovating on behalf of our customers. We aim to deliver the most frictionless, seamless transaction experience inside applications and games on every platform. We are thrilled to be part of Google, and we look forward to the exciting road ahead.

The game has only just begun.

Vikas & Reza

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