Google Buys Angstro to Fight Facebook
Google’s social networking shopping spree continued with the purchase of two-man startup Angstro August 26, the company confirmed.
Angstro makes technology that helps “unlock the power of your social graph,” which is industry parlance for adding social content such as Facebook photos, LinkedIn profiles, Twitter tweets and other social services to other Web services.
Angstro was founded and run by Rohit Kohare and Salim Ismail. Kohare announced his move to Google along with Ismail in a brief blog post.
Google declined to discuss what roles Kohare and Ismail will assume at the company or whether or not their products will live on.
However, Kohare in his blog post alluded to the looming fight between Google, which is racking up social networking components and leading social network Facebook.
“While our work here may be done, the struggle for open, interoperable social networks is still only just beginning, and I’m looking forward to working on that in my new role at Google,” Kohare wrote.
Struggle is the operative word. Facebook has more than 500 million users and is proven as much a utility as a social tool for connecting people with family, friends, colleagues and brands as Google has proven to be a utility for search.
However, where Facebook is largely protective of what content leaves its network, Kohare and Ismail are dedicated to making social content accessible anywhere. Kohare penned a blog post about this very issue for TechCrunch in May.
Angstro’s Knxt.to pairs social network profile content with voice calls on Ribbit for Mobile, enriching the VOIP app’s caller ID technology. Knxt.to provides a similar service for MySpace, aggregating profile info from other Websites.
Another Angstro service called Noteworthy News crawls the Web pipes news about a user’s friends from Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn to their computer.
That Google has purchased an open integrator of social services — and hired open advocates such as Joseph Smarr and Chris Messina — underscores its strategy.
Angstro is just another ingredient in the social network called Google Me, which the company is moving at high speed to launch.
In the last few months, Google has been stockpiling companies, technologies and top industry talent to wage a not-so-secret war against Facebook, whose functionality and developer platform are robust.
Google invested $100 million in Zynga and partnered with the company for social games; and acquired Slide for $228 million.