Google invests in Zynga, Google Games on its way

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Google "quietly" invested $100 million in Zynga, the online game developer responsible for FarmVille, according to TechCrunch. Experts feel that this is not a precursor to Google acquiring Zynga, but instead a strategic partnership between the two companies. It is believed that Zynga will spearhead Google Games, a service slated to debut later this year.

Considering that Zynga provides a high-quality base on which to build social online games, the partnership will be beneficial to Google on multiple fronts. First of all, Google will not have to reinvent the wheel when launching its Games service. Secondly, this will certainly improve the odds of Google creating a worthy social-network competitor to Facebook. Currently, Google has wavered on the social networking front, with dissappointing attempts, like Buzz and Latitude. However, a strong lineup of social online games, in conjunction with the information storage capabilities of the Google Cloud, and a superior search engine, Google could eventually become a legitimate contender to Facebook.

A partnership with Zynga may also have positive implications for Google Checkout, which also not has become as successful as Google had hoped. It has been suggested that Zynga is the leading customer for PayPal, but a partnership between Google and Zynga may signal a switch to exclusivity with Google Checkout.

Google's new relationship with Zynga may also present a hindrance for Apple. During Steve Jobs' keynote at Apple's IPad event, Zynga debuted its FarmVille app for iOS 4. Clearly, Apple valued its relationship with Zynga enough to allow Zynga to make a presentation at the keynote. And a partnership with Google will certainly not make Steve Jobs too happy.

Finally, there will be positive implications for Google's web and mobile-based operating systems, as I'm sure you will find Google Games eventually intertwined with Android and Chrome OS. Other implications, like HTML5 and Flash, are not yet unknown, but such a powerful partnership could theoretically change the landscape for the future of online gaming.

Of course with an upcoming launch of a new Google service, you would expect some job openings. And to start it off, it seems that Google is looking for a Games Product Management Leader:

Product Management Leader, Games – Mountain View
This position is based in Mountain View, CA.


The area: Product Management


One of the many reasons Google consistently brings innovative, world-changing products to market is because of the collaborative work we do in Product Management. With eyes focused squarely on the future, our team works closely with creative and prolific engineers to help design and develop technologies that improve access to the world’s information. We’re responsible for guiding products throughout the execution cycle, focusing specifically on analyzing, positioning, packaging, promoting and tailoring our solutions to all the markets where Google does business.


The role: Product Management Leader, Games


The Product Management Leader, Games will be a flexible, results-oriented, and experienced senior leader who will be responsible for developing Google’s games commerce product strategy and partnering to build and manage the business with a cross-functional team. You will have visionary product insight, combined with experience in the online content business, significant technical expertise and extensive leadership and business skills. The Product Management Leader, Games combines a great instinct for developing compelling products with a strong focus on users and technical aptitude to work with a world class engineering team and the business sense to drive product goals and strategies.


Responsibilities:
Identify market opportunities and define product vision and strategy.
Develop and launch new products and enhance existing products.
Lead and mentor a team of Product Managers.
Engage closely with the engineering team to help determine the best technical implementation methods as well as a reasonable execution schedule.
Establish partnerships as necessary to drive the growth of Google’s products.


Requirements:
Technical degree or equivalent experience. Masters or PhD preferred.
Experience building an online gaming business both on the web and on mobile devices. Deep understanding of the game business and how to create hits.
Proven success in driving product strategy and product design for a successful game.
Solid product management experience with a track record of creating innovative and winning Internet or software solutions.
Significant people and organizational management skills. A natural leader and mentor.
Demonstrated ability to gather user requirements and convert them into a winning product vision. Strong quantitative and analytical abilities.
Strong communication skills with the ability to evangelize the merits of Google’s products internally and externally.

Will the Google-Zynga partnership launch Google Games into success? Will Google ever present real competition to Facebook? Let us know what you think.

Source: TechCrunch
 
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