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Google Thursday announced that it has acquired online polling startup Polar and plan to shut the polling service down by 2015. Google has acquired Polar, an online polling specialist, indicating some big efforts in its not-so-popular social networking site-Google Plus. Google+ has been around for a few years, but it came late to the social party, and it never reach the fame and success of Facebook. With more than 1.3 billion users, Facebook seems unbeatable and Google is losing the social battle. Polar, a startup that was founded last year, polls users on mobile devices by letting them pick one of two options, such as what’s the best beverage – Coca Cola or Pepsi, and etc.
Polar is a monster, half a billion polls were run in the past eight months alone, with some 1.1 million active voters using the service. The service will be shuttered by the end of the year, but the team will somehow join Google+. Polar is known for crafting buzzy online polls like “Is WhatsApp worth $16 billion?” for web publishers.
Google Plus has struggled to gain traction with users, at least in comparison to Facebook. But it still has immense value to Google because it provides information (everything Google need) about Google users which in turn, helps the search giant to sell more ads and push more of its services.
Financial Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Google made it clear that this deal is more about talents- an acqui-hire, meaning Google was most interested in employing Luke Wroblewski, Polar’s founder, and his talented army of engineers and designers.
Mr. Wroblewski is a well-respected interface designer and an evangelist of mobile design, Wroblewski published a book called “Mobile First,” which “makes the case for why websites and applications should increasingly be designed for mobile first” and outlines ways for web design teams to move from designing apps for desktops and laptops to designing them for mobile phones.
Dave Besbris, VP of engineering for Google Plus, gave his comment on this on his own Google Plus page: “I’m thrilled to welcome Luke Wroblewski and the talented Polar team to Google+ They’ll be joining our team and helping us make G+ even more awesome.”
Polar has done polls for several media companies including HBO and Techcrunch. Now that it has been acquired by Google, Polar will stop taking new customers and spend the next few months in some important task and focus more on new Google Plus projects.
It’s not exactly clear where Polar’s team will fit in, but it’s possible that Google will take Polar’s services and make them part of their Google Plus ad space efforts, perhaps a new way of linking Google Plus posts to ads elsewhere online and a new layer for interaction.