Earlier this month, Google reportedly invested as much as $200 million into social game developer Zynga. Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting the investment in the Farmville and Mafia Wars creator might be just part of a larger push into the social networking turf currently dominated by Facebook.
The paper cites "people familiar with the matter" as confirming that Google is in discussions with a number of developers to bring their games to a new social networking service the search giant is creating. In addition to Zynga, Google is said to be courting Electronic Arts' Playfish and Playdom, which Disney this week announced it will acquire for $563.2 million. The new service doesn't have a launch date, but the article says its rumored name is "Google Me."
Google has already made one step into social networking this year, with the February debut of Google Buzz. An addendum to the company's Gmail service, Buzz incorporated aspects of Twitter and Facebook and quickly riled privacy advocates with default settings that made information public, like who a person was following. Google tweaked the service within days but was still taking international heat over the incident months later.
A representative with Google told GameSpot the company doesn't comment on rumors or speculation. As of press time, inquiries to Playdom, Playfish, and Zynga had not been returned.