Last week Google confirmed that it had made its first Korean acquisition, a popular blogging platform called TNC, which has approximately 400,000 users, including a majority of Korea’s top bloggers (per VentureBeat).
The site’s founder and CEO Chang-Won Kim said that he thought Google bought the company to boost its “minor” market share in Korea, the sixth largest internet market.
Early last year Google acquired in-game advertising company Adscape Media. In that context a Valve acquisition would make sense; Google would instantly have considerable inventory to roll out. Not so far removed from online gaming, Google also launched virtual world Lively not long ago.
Like Lively, Valve’s Steam is something of a social network too, with multi-player gaming. And steam is consistent with Google’s “cloud computing” strategy — one can access the games from “any PC.” (Microsoft of course owns the Xbox gaming system and acquired in-game ad platform Massive last year.)
Again the Google Valve acquisition is a rumor. But if Google does acquire the company, one can see an interesting, more coherent opportunity here: online gaming + virtual worlds + social networking + advertising (targeting selected, desirable demographics).
Postscript: Others have written that the potential Valve acquisition is not really about gaming. Rather it’s about content distribution (via Steam) and pushing online software updates to users. My experience is that Google never does anything for a single reason; there are always multiple perceived benefits to any acquisition or initiative the company undertakes.