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Google learns how to play Dodgeball.com

Search giant acquires text-messaging/social networking service

Google continued extending its reach beyond the PC this week by acquiring social networking service Dodgeball.com.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, and representatives of Dodgeball.com and Google did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

New York-based Dodgeball.com formally launched last year as an expansion of a post-graduate project started at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

The service lets users "check in" their location at a bar, club, restaurant or other local gathering spot, then transmits that information as a text message to the mobile phones of selected other Dodgeball.com users in the area. The goal is to spark in-person connections among friends, acquaintances and friends-of-friends.

Google's eclectic portfolio includes other experimental meldings of social interactions with technology, such as Orkut, a Friendster-like site started by one of Google's employees and affiliated with the company. Unlike Orkut, Dodgeball.com's focus is on offline interaction: It aims to connect mobile users when they're on the move and away from their PCs.

Dodgeball.com creator Dennis Crowley said he and his partner, Alex Rainert, chose to sell to Google because they like its approach to technology.


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