Nosy Google buys Aardvark social search

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Google has bought Aardvark, a social search company which allows you to badger complete strangers with stupid questions at the touch of a button.

The service should complement Buzz, Google's newly-launched social networking platform, as it gives the company a chance to make money out of social contacts as well as web pages.

Aardvark  was founded in 2007, by a group which two ex-Googlers - Nathan Stroll, who headed Google News, and Max Ventilla, who was in charge of making money out of Adsense and Web applications.

Its service searches for answers to queries not amongst web pages but by searching the user's social contacts. Type in a question, and it not only emails or SMSs your friends, it asks their friends too.

It's not quite as annoying as it sounds, as people have to sign up - users give Aardvark access to either a social network or their email contact list and then say what they're an expert on.

The company says it has over 90,000 users, and that the vast majority of questions are answered within ten minutes.

The size of the deal was undisclosed, but TechCrunch  reckons it was worth $50 million.