I finally heard from Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi, after trying all day to verify whether the venerable Bellevue game company was indeed being sold to Google.

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I finally heard from Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi, after trying all day to verify whether the venerable Bellevue game company was indeed being sold to Google.

The intriguing story began with a report by Charlie Demerjian, a reporter at British tech rag The Inquirer, who heard it from sources while covering the Game Developers’ Conference in Austin, Texas.

It came out of left field and surprised insider types who usually know such things.

But Google’s reaching out to game developers — about platforms, as opposed to seeking games — and Valve has developer credibility to spare. Valve also has powerful cloud-services technology for delivering content.

Google wouldn’t comment on “rumor and speculation,” a spokesman said, but that chestnut didn’t close the door completely.

Lombardi tamped down the news midday with a comment to an MTV blog, saying the story was “complete fabrication.”

Finally, Lombardi told me late afternoon that “there’s no truth to the rumor.”

I still wonder, though, if perhaps Google made an approach or the companies were discussing some sort of partnership, weird as it sounds.

A digital test

This is clever: Tonight, KING 5 will turn off its analog broadcast for five seconds at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. but continue to broadcast digitally. That way viewers can tell whether their television setups are ready for the nationwide switch to digital broadcasting that’s coming in February.

The station will also offer technical support during the test, at 206-448-4590.

Tests will happen during KING 5 News at 5 p.m. and on KONG 6/16 at 10 p.m. today and on Oct. 23.

Its consumer reporter, Jesse Jones, will explain ways to prepare for digital if your set shows “snow” during the test.

More to iLike

After taking Facebook by storm, Seattle-based iLike hopes to put its music services all over the Web with a new music platform for blogs and Web sites.

Ilike announced the platform at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York on Wednesday.

The platform is intended to offer simple ways for Web developers to add interactive music components to their sites.

It has an embeddable widget that lets site visitors create and edit playlists, without having to leave the host site and register at iLike. Visitors can cooperatively build a playlist of songs for a wedding, for instance, or create their own soundtrack for a movie.

One of the launch partners, Evite, will use the tool to add a group-editable song list to invitations, “and it will take them only about 10 lines of code, because that’s an interactive building block we’ve built for them,” iLike President Hadi Partovi said via e-mail.

Partovi said he was amazed by how quickly iLike was able to get top Web developers onboard as launch partners. The company sent out a few e-mails with links to documentation and code samples, and two weeks later they were signed up.

Launch partners include Evite and Typepad and Facebook application developers Flixster, Slide, SGN, Watercooler, ConnectedWeddings and MesmoTV.

It’s a big move that could give the 29-person startup more visibility and prominence as online-music services face new competition from the upcoming MySpace Music, although iLike’s aiming its platform at Web developers more than consumers.

Adding widgets

After quickly scaling up its ad network, hitting a billion impressions a month in just a year, Seattle’s WidgetBucks is broadening the service.

Today it’s announcing new local and travel-focused ad widgets, which expand the network beyond its original shopping widgets.

The local widgets include real-time local content such as weather and gas prices, along with products and ads for local businesses and services.

The travel widget offers “dynamic, multidestination deals based on origin, destination and themed travel, such as skiing/snowboarding destinations.”

This material has been edited for print publication.

Brier Dudley’s blog appears Thursdays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com.