Google is acquiring Helsinki, Finland-based mobile social-networking provider Jaiku, also known as Twitter's competitor.
The news was announced on Jaiku's Web site:
"Exciting news: Jaiku is joining Google! While it's too soon to comment on specific plans, we look forward to working with our new friends at Google over the coming months to expand in ways we hope you'll find interesting and useful. Our engineers are excited to be working together, and enthusiastic developers lead to great innovation. We look forward to accomplishing great things together. In order to focus on innovation instead of scaling, we have decided to close new-user sign-ups for now."
Jaiku identifies itself as an "activity stream and presence sharing service that works from the Web and mobile phones."
Google also announced the acquisition on the Official Google Blog: "We wish a hearty Google welcome to Jaiku, and are looking forward to working together on new and innovative ways of keeping people connected."
Google's social-networking moves have been puzzling and somewhat erratic. Mobile social-networking service Zingku said late last month that Google was acquiring its assets.
"We have signed a deal to purchase Zingku as well, although that transaction has not closed," a Google representative said.
And in 2005, Google acquired social-networking service Dodgeball, which enables people to link up using text messages sent to mobile phones. But the company never really did anything with it, and the founders left in disgust in April.
There's also speculation that Google may be testing its own virtual world with students at Arizona State University. Meanwhile, Orkut, Google's internally developed social network, has failed to gain traction in the United States, although it's big in Brazil.