Discussion of Google’s recent acquisition of Jambool has largely centered around its virtual currency platform, Social Gold. The power behind that platform comes in the form of the Social Gold API. Again, Google has bought a company whose API is central to its success.
The Jambool home page has a message from the company’s founders with developers mentioned in almost every paragraph, including its reason to join Google:
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.
A presentation from CEO Vikas Gupta in 2009 (embedded below) provides an introduction to virtual currency and Social Gold:
VentureBeat writes that the acquisition of Jambool is about competition with Facebook, which has its own virtual currency:
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.
Google has bought other APIs in the past, most recently online photo editor Picnik in March.