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Google Continues Social Buying Spree With SocialDeck

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Google CEO Eric Schmidt proclaimed the recession all but over last October when he told analysts that he felt confident enough about his company's financial footing to again begin hiring new workers and acquiring smaller companies.

On the acquisition front, Schmidt estimated roughly one purchase a month.

Perhaps he was being conservative.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) this week snapped up SocialDeck, a small firm that produces social games for an array of mobile platforms, marking the company's fifth acquisition this month.

The SocialDeck buy follows last week's acquisition of Angstro, a startup specializing in social-media applications. Google's other August purchases included Slide, another social gaming firm, virtual currency provider Jambool and iLike, a visual search engine focused on e-commerce.

SocialDeck describes its approach as "anyone, anytime, anywhere gaming," developing games that can be played on mobile platforms such as the BlackBerry and iPhone as well as online social destinations like Facebook. That format enables users to play the games using the same profile on the various platforms. Similarly, a user playing a game through a BlackBerry app could compete against a friend using the iPhone or Facebook version.

SocialDeck's titles include Pet Hero and Shake and Spell, a Boggle-like word game.

"We started this company with the goal of connecting friends through social games on all kinds of exciting new mobile devices," SocialDeck's founders said in announcing the acquisition.

"We're super excited to announce that someone found our games as fun as you have -- in this case, that 'someone' is Google."

Google's latest acquisition spree has revolved around startups operating in the social space, paving the way for the search giant's widely expected entrée into the social networking arena with a service dubbed "Google Me."

Google's previous forays into the social space, including Google Buzz and the social network Orkut, have failed to win mainstream appeal.

SocialDeck's team will join Google's workforce through the acquisition. The company is based in Toronto and San Francisco.

SocialDeck garnered its first round of venture funding from the BlackBerry Partners Fund in March 2009.

Kenneth Corbin is an associate editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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