About.com is on the block; Google bidding?

News.com reports that AOL, Ask Jeeves, The NY Times, Google and Yahoo are all bidding to purchase About.com, the guide-driven portal now owned by Primedia.
Asking price is $350 million to $500 million, and Goldman Sachs has been managing the sale for the past month.
It’s obvious why AOL, Ask, the Times and Yahoo would want About.com–it’s got a huge amount of ad inventory and can easily be integrated with other content and tools–but it’s intriguing to think about how Google might use the site.
Imagine:

  • About merging with Blogger–it’s on the MT platform now.
  • About content syndicated into Froogle, Google, and other tools to build out custom, targeted content apps.
  • Google’s Froogle, Maps, Local, etc. syndicated into About to drive usage and surface buried services (this sounds very AOL-like, ugh!).
  • Guides as Orkut-like community, with Craigslist-style functionality built in.

Oy, vey. My head is swimming.