Google buys virtual currencies startup Jambool

AFP – Tuesday, August 17

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – – Virtual currency manager Jambool announced Monday that it has been purchased by Google for an undisclosed sum.

“When the opportunity arose to join forces with Google… we couldn’t pass it up,” Vikas Gupta and Reza Hussein, co-founders of the startup, said in a blog post.

Jambool is the company that launched Social Gold virtual transactions technology that processes virtual currencies — make-believe money for online transactions such as games and social networks, including Facebook and MySpace.

The technology allows makers of online games and social networks to mine “real money from virtual goods” — allowing genuine cash to be converted into virtual currency and vice versa.

The company has reported strong growth due to the popularity of online games.

“Our vision is to build world-class products that help developers manage and monetize their virtual economies across the globe,” the company said in the online post.

Gupta and Hussein said they started Jambool in 2006 as an online collaboration platform, but shifted focus a year later to building applications for social networks.

“Along with success, we found fun and lucrative ways to monetize our apps — specifically virtual currency and goods,” the former Amazon.com employees said.

“That led us to create a platform to help developers create, host, manage and monetize their virtual economies,” they wrote.

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2 responses to “Google buys virtual currencies startup Jambool

  1. What’s money? A simple contract between two people in which a claim can be made.

    My girlfriend have a kind of joke between us. She wrote me a check to cover a loan I made her, but I never cashed it. If I should need something for which I’m short of cash, I hand her the check. When she needs me to buy something, she gives me the check back.

    The question is, do we need a third party to enforce the “money” involved in the check? It’s negotiable to anyone, but we simply exchange it among ourselves. In essence, we’ve printed our own money.

    In the mechanical age of specialization, we’re still tied down to concepts of what is “real”. If people accept a virtual currency as a form of exchange that can be recognized by the “real” world, it’s money.

    It’s a version of the Turing Test. If something is exactly that which it represents, so that there is no essential difference, is it the same? Of course it is, by every possible human definition.

  2. “The company has reported strong growth due to the popularity of online games.”

    Do they know how to translate is to money?

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