Google's $182 million employee

The company is gearing up for an all-out war with Facebook, and it wants Max Levchin to help lead.

By Kim Peterson Aug 27, 2010 1:54PM
Credit: (© Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for Burda Media)
Caption: Max Levchin, CEO of SlideGoogle (GOOG) is preparing for an all-out battle with Facebook, and it wanted Max Levchin on its side badly. So badly, in fact, that Google recently bought Levchin's entire company, called Slide, for $182 million.

Now, Levchin (pictured) has rocketed into the role of VP of engineering at Google. It's rare for an outsider to land a top position like that, writes VentureBeat, and it's a sign that Levchin has a huge amount of power and influence there.

Fast Company asks the big question: "Did Google pay $182 million for Slide, or did they pay it for Max Levchin?"

So who is this guy? Levchin was a co-founder of PayPal and netted about $35 million when the company was sold to eBay, according to Fast Company. His newest company, Slide, makes games and other items that you can buy on Facebook.
As it turns out, people will happily pay money for things like virtual farm animals on Facebook. The sale of virtual items in games could top $800 million this year, The New York Times reports.

Google decided that Slide -- and Levchin -- will be key to building up its own social-networking platform. Facebook is far and away Google's biggest competitor at the moment, and Google is late to the social-networking party.

So Google is opening its wallet in hopes of catching up. The company recently bought Zynga, a huge social-game shop. And this week, news emerged that Google bought Angstro, a company that grabs information about people from Facebook and LinkedIn.

So the war against Facebook is just starting to shape up. Does Google have what it takes to catch the social-networking giant?

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