RealTime IT News

Google to Buy Meetroduction

Google is expected to announce the acquisition of Meetroduction later this week, a source close to the transaction told internetnews.com.

Chicago-based Meetroduction launched the first version of Meetro, "location-aware social networking software," on Aug. 4. The idea of Meetro is to find people to hang out with in the physical world.

Google has been rumored to be developing instant messaging capabilities, along with its moves into creating a more portal-like experience via My Google, the personalized start page Google introduced in May. A Google spokesman declined to comment for this story.

Meetro combines instant messaging with automatic local buddy finding. Users can log in and browse or search profiles of other members in order to find someone compatible who's nearby and also logged in. The area to be searched can be narrowed to a quarter mile.

"The beauty of Meetro is the direct way in which you connect with people nearby," Paul Bragiel, CEO of Meetroduction, said in a statement about the software release. "Just run Meetro, double-click on a person and begin chatting immediately. It's all real-time, which means you see and communicate with local people who are online right now."

The software is compatible with AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and ICQ, adding the ability to find people outside of one's personal buddy lists. Before the acquisition, the company planned to eventually support MSN Messenger and Jabber as well.

According to a recent report by Majestic Research, Google users spent only 21 percent of their time in search; on Yahoo, users spent only two percent of their time searching. While Google is by far the search leader, archrival Yahoo leads in total traffic and page views. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, Yahoo had 83 million unique visitors in June, and they spent more than two hours apiece on the site. Google had 62.4 million unique visitors, spending slightly more than 22 minutes per person on the site.

John Aiken, the Majestic Research lead analyst in the report, wrote, "In a sense, Yahoo has long had not just one, but two core offerings: mail and search, both of which attracted approximately 55 percent of Yahoo's unique visitors in June. A host of additional features ranging from messenger to music round out Yahoo's roster, creating a heavily populated traffic ecosystem in which users spent nine times as many minutes as they did on Google sites in [the second quarter of 2005]."

While Google saw strong growth from search, according to Majestic's report, adding additional services would increase "stickiness" and provide more kinds of inventory for it to show ads against.