TechCrunch sources report that not only has Google quietly invested somewhere between $US100 and $US200 million dollars in FarmVille and Mafia Wars creator Zynga, the developer's games will form the base for Google Games, launching later this year.
The creators of FarmVille, Mafia Wars and other social games are no strangers to companies throwing large amounts of money their way. Zynga has raised somewhere around half a billion dollars in the past year alone, and according to TechCrunch's sources, a large chunk of that came from Google - somewhere between $US100 and $US200 million.
This isn't just a quiet financial boost either. Sources say that the investment is part of a strategic deal that will see Zynga games playing a large part in the launch of Google Games later this year.
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.
It would be a highly profitable move on Google's part, launching its game service on the back of a social gaming network close to a hundred million strong.
The partnership would also jibe with a job listing for a Project Management Leader Google's games division, which ask that applicants be able to "develop and launch new products and enhance existing products" as well as "establish partnerships as necessary to drive the growth of Google's products".
Neither company has confirmed or denied the investment or the Google Games partnership. We've reached out to Zynga and Google, as has TechCrunch, and will update this story should we receive a response.