Techcrunch reckons Google has invested up to a couple of hundred million dollars in social gaming outfit Zynga.
Zynga has recently been passing a cap around a bunch of venture capitalists, who have chipped in around half a billion dollars over the past year. According to Techcrunch's "multiple sources" Google accounted for a fair chunk of that investment
Those sources say Zynga will provide the platform for a Google Games service which will launch later this year, say multiple sources. There is also some speculation that Google's checkout will replace Zynga’s current PayPal payment service. Zynga is one of PayyPal's biggest customers - if not the biggest, while Google's Checkout has thus far struggled to eat far into Paypal's leading market share.
Back in May, Google posted a job ad for a 'gaming guru', leading to inevitable speculation that the search-and-snoop outfit was looking to get into the lucrative online gaming market.
As we've said before, if there's a pie, Google wants to get its fingers in it.
Its main focus is information, particularly information about Internet users, as its main income comes from targeted advertising - that's why it will happily go sniffing through people's bins - or at least their Wi-Fi connections should they be daft enough to leave them open.
The gaming network will likely require a Google log-in allowing it to keep tabs on you. Zynga currently uses Facebook in what has proved a mutually-beneficial arrangement. Zynga produced the highly-succesful Farmville on Facebook, for example.
Google's evidently having some of that, although it wouldn't confirm as much when asked.