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Google buys Angstro and inches closer to launching social network

Memeburn has been reporting for some weeks now on the imminent unveiling of a new social network from Google, reportedly to be called Google Me.

The probability of that event took a giant leap forward over the weekend with the news that Google had acquired Angstro, a 2008 startup that “scours the web and the blogosphere for news about your friends from sites like Facebook and LinkedIn and delivers it to you.”

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The founder of Angstro is a man called Rohit Khare, an IT visionary who was persuaded to close his company and join Google because he was convinced that, according to the LA Times, “Google is now serious about social networks.”

Khare published a note on the Angstro web site that began like this: “Almost four years ago I set out to solve a deceptively simple problem: 95% of the Google Alerts I received about the entrepreneur Adam Rifkin were about the Hollywood movie director instead.

I worked with Salim Ismail, another “pub/sub” pioneer with a disturbing doppelgänger to co-found Ångströ and unlock the power of your social graph.”

No details were forthcoming about the size of the deal, but this is the 25th acquisition that Google has made over the last 12 months and confirms the insights of some analysts that Google is looking to get its social networking right by buying and combining smaller companies in a new, interesting manner.

Joseph Tartakoff of Paid Content, a media and information company owned by Guardian News and Media Limited, puts it like this: “All of Google’s purchases since July, including its buy today of social search startup Angstro, have been concentrated on two categories—search and social—where the company feels threatened by Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Facebook.”

While the possible shape, and even the name, of Google Me is still a closely guarded secret, it is rumoured that much of what it will be will center on the social aspects of gaming, an area where, it could be argued, there is still a lot of marketshare in which to maneuver.

Only one thing is certain: there is a showdown looming between two Silicon Valley giants that will profoundly reshape the social web in ways not even they can imagine.

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