Google launched games such as Angry Birds and Zynga Poker on Google+, a move to get users spending more time on the social network instead of Facebook.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has added games to Google+, a move
that should increase the amount of time users spend on the social network as it
seeks to pry users from Facebook.
Google+ launched to limited field testing June 28,
quickly gaining more than 25 million users in a month's time, according to comScore.
The network leverages a Circles construct of manual friending, and offers Hangouts
for impromptu and planned video chat sessions.
The company has been refining the product for the last six
weeks since its launch
and the latest tweak is a big one; the search engine is
adding a games button to the top of Google+ users' streams.
The uptick on gaming in Facebook has made it clear that online games in
social networks are a huge draw for social network users. Social game developers spice up the action by letting users purchase
virtual goods to boost their game status or add additional levels.
Google+ users will be able to click it to play
any of the 16 games listed there, including popular titles such as Angry Birds
from Rovio Mobile, Bejeweled Blitz from PopCap and Zynga Poker.
"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," Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of
engineering for Google, said in a blog post.
"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."
This control over who sees what is consistent with the
Google+ Circles construct, which is designed to give users more control over
The inclusion of Zynga Poker lends to the intrigue of how
Google is positioning games versus rival Facebook. Zynga has been the flagship
game developer for Facebook since its Farmville and Mafia Wars titles burst onto the scene a few years ago.
Zynga is going public and
appears to be content with playing the middle. Google invested more than $100 million in the
when it began building Google+ in earnest last summer.
The Google+ games rollout will be gradual, so users may
not see the games button right away. Developers interested in
building games for Google+ should see Google's developers blog here
Facebook wasted little time in responding to Google's games play, upgrading its own games experience by adding
a new game ticker, bigger screen and the ability to bookmark favorite games.