Google announced today that they have acquired casual games developers LabPixies, who make games for Facebook, MySpace and the iPhone. The company is based in Israel and the acquisition is rumored to have cost Google $25 million. LabPixies has worked closely with Google on creating iGoogle games and gadgets, and this acquisition is also meant to strengthen the development power of Google’s Tel Aviv offices.
Although information about what exactly LabPixies will be doing is still slim, the fact that the team has worked with closely with iGoogle makes me suspect they may be helping to create better iGoogle gadgets. With the release of Google Buzz and Google Wave, iGoogle has recently taken a backseat from the spotlight, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are planning to relaunch that feature with more bells and whistles. There’s certainly a lot of room for a good widget home-page that leverages all of Google’s great services, and iGoogle is perfect for that.
I worked with Don Loeb from the iGoogle team during my time with Electronic Arts, and know that he and the team have a strong vision to make iGoogle a useful tool in a user’s life. I imagine that we’ll be hearing more from the iGoogle front, and Don hints at that in his blog post announcing the acquisition:
“One of the first developers to create gadgets for iGoogle wasLabPixies. Over the years, we worked closely together on a variety of projects, including the launch of a number of globalOpenSocial 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. The team will be based in our ever-growing Tel Aviv office and will anchor our iGoogle efforts across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. We are looking forward to working with Labpixies to develop great web apps and leverage their knowledge and expertise to help developers and improve the ecosystem overall.”
We’ll see how this one pans out and keep you posted!