Google Dabbles In Dodgeball
In May of 2005, Google acquired Dodgeball, and then . . . nothing. Now, almost a year and a half later, Dodgeball users are being asked to sign in using a Google account, which led one blogger to remark that the company “is apparently a Google orphan no more.”
Dodgeball, in the words of Steve Poland, “allows users with cell phones to notify their friends via text messages (SMS) as to what bar or restaurant they currently are at (and thus where their friends can meet them for a drink).” Changes to this relatively small service, which is only available in 22 cities, may not have massive repercussions.
Still, asking users to sign in with a Google Account is a move that has raised some eyebrows. “Though not surprising, it is concerning that some people (ahem, me) will have so many services linked to one ID that can be cracked or subpoenaed,” wrote Brady Forrest. “Though there will be greater convenience with this change it also brings on greater ricks [sic].”
And as Donna Bogatin pointed out, the sign-in page offers a bit of a “push.” “If you already have a Google Account, use that to sign in,” it reads. “If not, use your dodgeball username and password and we’ll help you create a Google Account.”
Dodgeball is still being ignored in other ways, though. Bogatin, who made the “orphan” observation, also noted that “the Dodgeball.com About Us’ page . . . still makes no reference to owner Google and Dodgeball is not featured on Google’s Google Products‘ page.”