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Google Buys Labpixies

In acquiring the widget maker, Google is deepening its commitment to social software.

Google on Monday said that it had acquired Labpixies, a maker of social games and widgets that work with services like Facebook, iGoogle, and mobile devices.

"One of the first developers to create gadgets for iGoogle was Labpixies," explained Don Loeb, a business product manager at Google, in a blog post. "Over the years, we worked closely together on a variety of projects, including the launch of a number of global OpenSocial based gadgets. Recently, we decided that we could do more if we were part of the same team, and as such, we're thrilled to announce the acquisition of Labpixies."

A price for the deal was not disclosed.

Labpixies marks something of a departure for Google. Only a handful of Google's previous acquisitions have been primarily focused on social networking technology and none have involved a maker of games.

Google's motivation for the deal appears to be related to the success of Facebook's growing social gaming ecosystem. Bringing Labpixies in-house can be seen as reinforcing Google's defense against the Facebook Platform, OpenSocial.

The deal also represents an expansion of Google's presence in Tel Aviv, Israel, where Labpixies is based. Loeb said the team there will "anchor our iGoogle efforts across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa."

In a post on the Labpixies Web site, the company said that its goal has been to create truly personalized experiences online and that working at Google will enable them to expand their operations to reach more users.

Expect further announcements along these lines as the Google IO developer conference approaches in May.

Google recently released the OpenSocial 1.0 specification and the OpenSocial Foundation is planning an OpenSocial State of the Union event next month.

The Labpixies deal is Google's fourth acquisition this month. Other companies that Google bought in April include Agnilux, Plink, and Episodic.

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