Whoa. TechCrunch reports that Google has invested between $100 and $200 million in Zynga, the social gaming behemoth behind Farmville, Mafia Wars, and others, in preparation for the launch of Google Games later this year.
TechCrunch's "multiple sources" say that Google itself, not its venture capital division Google Ventures, has invested between $100 and $200 million in Zynga, a huge power play presumably with the aim of eroding Facebook's social media dominance.
It seems that Google sees Zynga as the best way to hit the ground running with Google Games, a social gaming service from the search company that's set to launch later this year. TechCrunch points to this job opening for "Product Management Leader, Games" at their Mountain View campus as proof that we'll be seeing a lot more about Google's move into gaming in the near future.
With Google Me, the company's purported Facebook killer, continuing to take shape, this major investment in Zynga is just further proof that Google is making a very serious effort to hit Facebook where it hurt, namely, the farms. [TechCrunch]