Google Buys Slide In Social Networking Push

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is buying social app maker Slide, as part of its soon-to-come new entry into the social networking/social games space. Slide, which was founded four years ago by Paypal co-founder Max Levchin, is behind a number of popular social networking apps, including SuperPoke Pets and Top Fish.

TechCrunch, which first reported the deal, puts the price at $182 million; the NYT, which is confirming the news, says Google is paying $228 million.

Either way it’s a big discount to the $550 million valuation put on the company when it raised $50 million in a fourth round of funding in January 2008. Then again, there were signs that all was not well at Slide. It laid off staff a year ago, saying it wanted to focus on bigger ad deals.

We’ll likely have more details on Friday, when the deal is expected to be announced by both companies. Google says it won’t comment on “rumor or speculation.”