Following up on my story from May on Google’s acquisition of Dodgeball, Google is now rumored to be buying another social networking platform, Meetroduction. It is conceptually similar to Dodgeball in that it is location-based, and can narrow down people’s proximity to the user to within a quarter mile. However it uses instant messaging for communication, which is increasingly viable as US mobile phones and PDAs often incorporate IM functionality. The concept of finding compatible people who are close by is an extension of the idea of proximity dating. At its best, this really is “enhanced serendipity” in action! These dual acquisitions by Google – if the rumor is correct – show that they see massive potential in real-time social networking. You bet.
Update August 13: the rumor has been denied in an interesting interview with Wendell Davis of Meetro. However even if this is the case I don’t doubt that this and similar technologies are firmly on Google’s radar.