Google hasn’t wasted a second opening its new social network up to a torrent of well-known game developers and their games. Angry Birds, Bejeweled and Zynga Poker are just a few Google+ gaming apps that are on board for the launch of Google+ Games.
While Google has raced to offer gaming fanatics a way to experience online games in a way that Google claims is “just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life,” the company has been cautious not to alienate its non-gaming social networkers too.
Games on Google+ have been relegated to their own separate page -- a feature which may help convert Facebook users that dread reading their friends’ annoying “John just bought a pig, harvested six crops, and needs help mowing his lawn” game notifications.
“That means giving you control over when you see games, how you play them and with whom you share your experiences,” explained Vic Gundotra, Google Senior Vice President, Engineering in an August 11 blog post introducing Google+ Games. “Games in Google+ are there when you want them and gone when you don’t.”
“When you’re ready to play, the Games page is waiting -- click the games button at the top of your stream,” said Gundotra. “You can see the latest game updates from your circles, browse the invites you've received and check out games that people you know have played recently. The Games page is also where your game accomplishments will appear. So you can comfortably share your latest high score -- your circles will only see the updates when they’re interested in playing games too.”
Google+ users who have no interest in playing online games can just ignore the games tab.
Facebook has been quick to respond to Google’s news and has added “some of the biggest updates to the apps experience on Facebook since we first launched Platform four years ago.”
Eager to hold on to its game developers Facebook announced a major redesign that includes the addition of app bookmarks, a real-time social application activity feed and more engaging “automatic game stories.”
The changes will give applications “greater real-estate on the user’s browser, and [will include] a live ticker of real-time game related updates to keep the users constantly engaged and updated with their friends’ activity on apps and games as they play,” said Facebook’s Bruce Rogers in an August 11 post on the company’s Developer Blog.
Google is in the process of rolling out Google+ Games. The Games tab should be available to all Google+ users “soon.”