If Google is going to "sunset" apps which are being judged as successful after only a couple of weeks, why bother with the bait and switch? Why don't they just tell everybody that they were acquired purely for talent, there wasn't really interest in certain developing products, and that here is your new "just as exciting and fun" project at Google? Seems like a waste of everyone's time, money, and trust to lead people along as if their idea in development actually mattered.
I don't like when articles assume so much about an individual's motivation.
I guess they are finally admitting it now.
I suspect that many of the folks working for startups prefer being at small companies: if they wanted to work for Google they already would be.
Take this from the point of view of a potential entrepreneur - wouldn't it be great to have a guy that's done it twice be one of your angels?
Or let's say he starts another company - wouldn't that be a great one to work for?
You seem to be attaching a lot of motivation behind the acquisition that I haven't seen elsewhere.
But why would Google have any interest in "bailing" them out? Regardless of whether you think they were worth the money, I think it's a stretch to call it a bail out as if Google was using its corporate money to pay friends off. I suspect Google just saw a good team with some decent projects and interesting ideas, and used it to add to their social expertise.