Google has reportedly invested more than $100 million in Zynga, a popular social gaming company, and is quietly preparing to launch a new product, Google Games, later this year.
According to TechCrunch and their "multiple sources", Google (and not Google Ventures - the search giant's venture capital division) has secretly pumped between $100 and $200 million into Zynga, the company responsible for many of the major social networking games that have become extremely popular including Mafia Wars, Farmville and Cafe World.
But that's not all. TechCrunch says the two companies are working on a "strategic partnership" which will see Zynga become the "cornerstone" of a new Google games platform to possibly debuted later this year.
Although as TechCrunch points out, there's a job opening for a "Product Management Leader, Games" at Google's Mountain View campus, it's not yet clear what exactly Google Games will be. It is however, thought to be a platform which would require users to sign-in to play games, essentially giving Google what it's been striving so very hard for recently -- the makings of its own very own social graph.
And while Google and Zygna are yet to comment on the news, Google Games could also potentially become another major selling point for the Google's upcoming cloud-based operating system, Chrome OS, which will only let users run web-based applications and not install traditional desktop software.
These latest rumors come just weeks after reports surfaced suggesting Google is hard at work developing a brand new social network, to be dubbed "Google Me". After failed attempts with Orkut and the more recently launched Google Buzz to compete against the likes of Twitter and Facebook, it seems Google is working extremely hard to launch new platforms that will finally vault the search giant into the social networking arena.