Google Fights Off Brain Drain With PostRank Buy

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Google’s big push to increase its foothold in the social web is well underway. Social analytics technology startup PostRank announced Friday it has been acquired by Google for an undisclosed amount of money.

PostRank’s technology scans the web in real-time for “social engagement events” like comments and tweets so brands and publishers can gauge how influential their content is online. The four-year-old company is based in Waterloo, Ontario, but will soon move its team to Google’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters, CTO Ilya Grigorik said in a blog post announcing the deal.

The PostRank buy is just the latest example of Google putting its money where its mouth is in tackling the social space. According to an internal memo leaked in April, Google has already placed strong internal incentives for its existing employees to do everything in their power to bolster the company’s social efforts. This week’s PostRank acquisition indicates the company is also looking beyond its own walls to get its social efforts off the ground.

Though Google is famous for investing in the happiness of its existing staff, the acquisition proves the company is continuing to scout for fresh talent and technologies externally. It’s a smart move for a somewhat aging player in an increasingly cutthroat industry. In the gold rush environment of today’s Silicon Valley, brain drain is an ever-present threat. With the lure of quickly growing pre-IPO startups such as Facebook and Zynga, even Google’s best-laid employee retention and bonus plans can easily go awry. By employing both build and buy tactics, Google is showing it’s truly bringing out the big guns with its social web strategy.

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