Google is seeking partners to build out online games to help it compete with Facebook, the Wall Street Journalhas reported.
It has held talks with several major games companies, including Playdom, Playfish and Zynga - in which Google recently bought a stake - as part of a broader social networking initiative underway, the paper said.
Interviewed by the Journal this week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt declined to confirm the development of a social networking games service, rumored to be called “Google Me.”
The news illustrates the importance that Google and other big media and internet firms place on the hot social games segment.
Unlike the marquee games such as Xbox and Playstation, social games are simple and inexpensive and don’t require a dedicated hardware.
Startup Zynga, the company behind the wildly popular Farmville game, has raised $500 million from backers in the last year alone, including as much as $200 million from Google.