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RealTime IT News

Google Adds Texting Tech

Text messages sponsored by Google ads? That scenario, and others like it, look increasingly likely after Google today announced it acquired Zingku's mobile messaging and social networking service.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Zingku's service enables mobile users to establish groups of contacts and share text and picture messages with them, as well as to store photos and schedule reminders on personalized sites. The company also offers marketing services, enabling online merchants to print codes in their real-world or online ads. When entered into a Zingku user's phone, these codes download a coupon or advertising material, which can then be shared with other users.

Despite some of the obvious marketing implications for the service, the search advertising giant did not say how exactly how it aims to integrate Zingku's technology into its own plans.

"We believe these assets can help build products and features that will benefit our users, advertisers and publishers," a Google spokesperson told InternetNews.com.

Google has become increasingly active in the mobile space during the past several years, evidently seeking to map out an advertising strategy for an increasingly hot platform.

At this year's Search Engine Strategies (SES) convention in San Diego, Google's Marissa Meyer characterized mobile as the next great application opportunity. Mayer, vice president of search products and user experience at the company, noted that despite the summer slow-down, Google had seen an increase in the number mobile users getting online this season.

Google is even rumored to be building its own mobile device. At SES, Meyer played down the possibility of a "GooglePhone," but the topic remains popular speculation among Google-watchers.

Prior to the acquisition, Zingku's operated in a private beta. Since then, the company has closed the gates to new members. A notice on the Zingku's site indicates that user accounts will be transferred over to Google beginning in October.