Google Buddies Up to Friendster

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Social networking portal Friendster will be placing Google ads on its site and using Google technology to power its search engine, according to CEO Kent Lindstrom in an interview with MarketWatch blogger Bambi Francisco.

The financial details of the two-year deal were not disclosed, but Francisco believes it follows the same template as the $900 million deal Google struck with MySpace/News Corp in August 2006, albeit much more small-scale. Friendster, once the social network leader, has watched its numbers become dwarfed by MySpace over time, with the former claiming only about 36 million members as opposed to MySpace’s 106 million, according to UK technology pub The Register.

TechCrunch further reports that Google tried to buy Friendster back in 2003 for $30 million, but the social network elected to raise venture capital and began loosing ground until recapitalizing in February 2006.

Lindstrom says he wants Friendster to be the social network for single young professionals. When the Google partnership kicks in, Friendster’s relationship with its current search technology provider, Yahoo, will effectively end.

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