Pygmies in the Amazonian rain forest are all well aware of the addictive and widespread Facebook game Farmville, so I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining what it is.
However, if you thought you were Farmville’s biggest fan, think again. Google has been been quietly investing in Zynga, the developers behind Farmville, to the tune of around $150m.
Zynga has also been building venture capital from a number of other firms, including $150m from Softbank Capital and $180m from Digital Sky Technologies.
What does Zynga plan to do with all this capital? How could they possibly become more pervasive and irritating to anyone and everyone not mesmerized by their gaming platform?
Perhaps the money is to hire people to go door-to-door around the world to inform people not currently logged into Facebook that their friend has lost a Rooster and is currently looking for it.
Not surprisingly, Zynga is quite the money earner – apparently people deeply engrossed in building a better farm than their friends aren’t above paying to ensure victory. What may be surprising is that Zynga is allegedly PayPal’s biggest customer.
So the move with Google will undoubtedly see Zynga switch to Google Checkout for payment options. This also adds another string to Google’s bow to help it take on Facebook in the battle for invading users privacy in the worst possible ways.