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Google munches mobile game builder

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Google has snapped up yet another "social" startup. This week's purchase — not to be confused with last week's — is SocialDeck, an outfit that builds mobile games.

As noticed by Inside Social Games, SocialDeck announced its purchased with a post to its home page. "We're super excited that someone found our social games as fun as you have — in this case, that 'someone' is Google," the post reads, before saying that the company was started with the goal of "connecting friends through social games on all kinds of exciting new mobile devices. We've been amazed and humbled by all the stories."

The company has launched several titles for the iPhone and the Blackberry as well as for Facebook — not a mobile device, of course, but a social network that can be used on mobile devices. SocialDeck says its social-gaming platform enables simultaneous game play across multiple mobile devices and social networks.

Last week, word arrived that Google had snapped up Ångströ, an outfit that built all sorts of apps that hook into "social" sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And in July, it nabbed Jambool, a company that builds applications for social networks involving virtual currency and virtual goods, and Slide, another social-app outfit.

In February, Google acquired Aardvark, a social-search business, and it has invested about $100 million in Zynga, which builds games for Facebook and other social sites. Google boss Eric Schmidt says that a partnership between Zynga and Google is on the way, though he did not confirm a report that Google is building a game-happy answer to Facebook known as Google Me. Google's previous forays into social networking — which the company must see as an important means of collecting user data and serving targeted ads — haven't achieved much success. Think Orkut. And Google Buzz. ®

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