Many are probably now asking “Meebo? What the hell is Meebo?” Well… From an instant messaging tool, to a chat service, to a websites’ toolbar, to a roughly $100 million acquisition by Google. That is Meebo and that is sometimes the life circle of a tech company.
The reason why many people don’t know what Meebo is and why Google has just withdrawn $100 million out of its deep pockets to buy it, is because although there’s a big chance they encountered with its bar and may even engaged with it, they didn’t noticed it too much.
That’s what makes Meebo’s bar so great as an advertising product. And with an ad penetration to over 95 million U.S. internet users (comScore, April 2012) that’s what makes it worth about $100 million. But of course, there are also some people who really hates it…
Besides ads, the bar itself contains Facebook and Twitter sharing options and addition personal site’s customization tabs. It is featured on many high profile sites such as TMZ, TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly and more. Here’s an example how it looks like on AMC site:
So what will Google do with Meebo? Although there aren’t specific details on Meebo’s future as a standalone service, I’m pretty sure that it will be shut down soon. Google already has many advertising products of its own so it will probably integrate Meebo’s technology into them.
Also, Meebo blog now only has the one “Google is acquiring Meebo!” post and if you try to enter other prior blog post you’ll just be redirected to Meebo blog homepage. That certainly isn’t a sign for continuity…
As for the Meebo team, while TechCrunch confirmed that there will be layoffs on the sales and marketing departments, Google spokesperson stated that the remaining crew will begin to work on improving the company’s social network, Google+:
With the Meebo team’s expertise in social publisher tools, we believe they will be a great fit with the Google+ team. We look forward to closing the transaction and working with the Meebo team to create more ways for users to engage online.
While Google is surely using Google+ to extract users data to serve better ads, it has yet to monetize directly Google+. Perhaps the Meebo acquisition is an indication that they are looking for a creative way to monetize the social networking platform.
The Meebo team obviously holds a lot of knowledge on how to monetize messaging services so Google might use it for its popular video chatting service, Hangouts, which received a greater role after Google+ overhaul on April and opened up Hangouts On Air for everyone on May.