In its last round of funding in 2010, Mountain View’s Meebo raised $25 million. No small feat for the company who most notably built a popular browser based messenger client in addition to its Meebo Me widgets.
With such strong financial backing, it was rumored that the Californian company was on its way to introducing other more revolutionary social capabilities with its applications. Well, perhaps that’s still true, but only in part now.
The “Meebo Bar” was the company’s most popular product and the browser bar allowed users to chat, share content on Facebook and StumbleUpon, get recommendations for similar sites, and save the content they most enjoyed.
In May of this year it was first reported that Meebo was meeting with Google although at the time neither of the two were interested in discussing the reasons why. On its homepage just weeks later, Meebo announced that it was being bought by Google. The rumored price of acquisition in this case was around $100 million. This doesn’t surprise us and we actually wrote about Meebo in 2007.
With 100 million monthly users, the seven year-old startup had built a loyal following, which is partly why it was acquired by Google. Motivated by Meebo’s talent, more than Meebo’s fanbase is the most likely reason why the startup was acquired.
“We are always looking for better ways to help users share content and connect with others across the Web,” Google said via email regarding Meebo.
Down With Facebook
With the Meebo officially shutting down on July 11, 2012, Meebo users were given a month to download their chat logs. And now that Meebo’s shutting down – now what?
Well, Google announced that the Meebo talent will be integrated into the Google+ team with the aim of launching Google+ projects to take on its rival, Facebook.
“With the Meebo team’s expertise in social publisher tools, we believe they will be a great fit with the Google+ team. We look forward to closing the transaction and working with the Meebo team to create more ways for users to engage online,” said Google in a statement.
Google doesn’t appear to want to let Facebook have its way with the world, not just yet. It seems to be the case especially considering that Meebo’s messenger allowed chat between mobile devices and desktops without issue existed well before Facebook Messenger. Back in 2005, users could log into multiple IM networks at the same time and through their browser instead of having use a standalone application, and this was at the time only available through Meebo.
Acquiring Meebo also gives Google the opportunity to mine a new subset of user data in order better target new features and advertising.
Targeted Advertising and Interests
While it makes sense that Google would want to acquire Meebo for its engineering talent, it also makes sense because the Meebo team is full of business and marketing talent. This fit would serve Google in evolving its social network platform, Google+ to better serve its users.
Four of the five Meebo services are shutting down: Meebo Messenger, Sharing on Meebo, Meebo Me, and the Meebo mobile apps. However, if you were a fan of the Meebo Bar, you’re in luck. Added improvements are rumored to be on the way.