The Internet world was buzzing this weekend with news that Google had secretly invested $100 to $200 million in popular social media gaming company Zynga, which makes such popular Facebook games as Farmville. The investments were first reported by Tech Crunch, which said that Google completed the investment last month.
Several sources told Tech Crunch that Google is making a strategic investment in Zynga as it prepares to roll out its own Google Games feature later this year. This could be done in conjunction with the rumored new Google Me social media site. It’s currently unclear about whether Google Games will be available as a standalone site or if it will follow the Facebook model and require that users create a new social graph and access it through the social networking site.
The San Francisco Chronicle speculated that the deal with Zynga was also meant to weaken Facebook as Google prepares to enter the social media market with a major rollout. It also could provide a boost to the Google Checkout online payment model if Zynga switches its payments to that from PayPal.