TechCrunch is reporting on several tips they received that Google has quietly invested $100 million in Zynga, the company behind games such as FarmVille, Treasure Isle, and Mafia Wars. Possibly more interesting is that Google is also mentioned to be working on launching a new service, called Google Games. TechCrunch further asserts that the "investment part of the deal closed a month ago or so. A larger strategic partnership is still in process."
TechCrunch adds that the investment in Zynga by Google was a strategic move:
Zynga will be the cornerstone of a new Google Games to launch later this year, say multiple sources. Not only will Zynga’s games give Google Games a solid base of social games to build on, but it will also give Google the beginning of a true social graph as users log into Google to play the games. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see PayPal being replaced with Google Checkout as the primary payment option.
They continue on to explain Google's probable reasoning behind the investment:
The reason these deals are so attractive to companies like Yahoo and now Google is this – Zynga allows them to rebuild the massive social graph, currently controlled by Facebook. For whatever reason people love to play these games and get passionately addicted to them, coming back day after day. That’s helped Facebook become what it is today.
As is often the nature of these kinds of stories, Google and Zynga have not commented on the story.
TechCrunch also managed to locate a job listing for a Product Management Leader for Google Games based out of their Mountain View, California facility.
No guesses yet from me on what this means for Android.