Time and time again, critics have said that Google can’t create a successful social product, and pointed to Google Buzz, Google Lively, and Google Wave as evidence. Google can buy successful social products, however, and it’s reportedly done so again today by acquiring Jambool.
If you haven’t heard of Jambool, don’t worry. That name tends to stay in the background. The company’s existence instead revolves around its Social Gold virtual currency platform, which both LOLapps and Ohai (along with other developers) use.
What’s more, John Zdanowski, the former CFO of Linden Labs, is quoted on the Jambool homepage as saying, "If I were to build the Second Life economy again, I would do it on the Social Gold platform."
So, with Google’s backing, Social Gold could represent a real challenge of sorts to Facebook Credits.
Anyway, to return to the acquisition report, Michael Arrington wrote this afternoon that Google is "buying Jambool and their Social Gold payment product, we’ve heard from multiple sources. The purchase price is $55 million plus another $15 million -$20 million in an earnout, say our sources."
We’ll update this post (or put up a new one) if/when the transaction is confirmed.