Google gets into the social gaming biz, because it turns out that social gaming addiction is the key to all social media success. Well, and a 5% cut of the profits compared to Facebook's 30%. Nice move, Google. Scotland Yard is using Britain's huge network of spy cams plus facial recognition software to track down looters, DARPA just ditched millions of our dollars somewhere over the Pacific (again), and Computer Love plays it safe.
Ever since the launch of Google Plus, the search giant has been trying to convince the world that Facebook is old news. One of the ways it's attempting to do this? By showing off how it's able to do all the things Facebook was able to do, albeit with a cleaner, more minimalist interface. With the rise of "Farmville," gaming has become a big part of Facebook, and, starting today, it's now a big part of Google Plus. Gaming, I mean...not "Farmville." Yet.
Google Plus Games is a free service available to anyone with a Google Plus account. At present, there are 16 games, many of which have already made a splash on Facebook. Familiar titles like "Bejeweled Blitz" and "Zynga Poker" are joined by the Google Plus-compatible versions of "Angry Birds" and "Diamond Dash."
As with Facebook, users need to grant games access to their profiles before playing them.
This usually amounts to giving those games access to friends lists, but automatic updates on profile pages can be deactivated if you'd rather not constantly bug your friends with the success of your digital moon base.
"Angry Birds" takes social a step further, introducing a new series of levels called Teamwork. Having more friends playing "Angry Birds" through Google Plus will allow you to unlock more levels. The game also tracks the total number of stars your friends have earned, as a means of unlocking even more content.
It'll be interesting to see just how far Google is going to go with its gaming initiatives. Right now it seems like it's more following the pack than blazing its own trail, but that could change drastically as Google Plus Games matures.