Google+ gets games, but game-haters don't have to see them

Google+ logoGames are coming to Google+, bringing the new social network more in line than ever with Facebook. Google announced today the addition of games via e-mail to journalists and through a post on its blog, noting that it has already signed deals with a "select group of partners" to bring games like Angry Birds, Zombie Lane, Sudoku, Bejeweled Blitz, and more to the platform.

But if you're the type who hates seeing Farmville updates in your friends' Facebook feeds or you cannot stand to get another invitation to Mafia Wars, you're in luck: Google says the games will be kept to a special area and "won't clutter the streams of those who aren't as enthusiastic."

The games will be accessible via a "games" option at the top of your Google+ stream. When you go there, "[y]ou 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," as well as see your own accomplishments. If you want to share your high scores on your Google+ stream, only friends who have expressed interest in playing games as well will see the updates.

Games, however, are only the tip of the iceberg. Google also announced that it has launched yet another company blog (to join the 5,104,857 that already exist, of course) for developers who want to create Web apps for Google+. And those apps may not have to be games. "In today's launch of games on Google+, you can now see the first of many types of integrations that we hope to help you build," Engineering Director David Glazer wrote to developers.

Glazer went on to explain that Google plans to continue adding partners and features "in small steps," starting with the games API—an indicator that other, non-game options will be available soon. Glazer didn't give a specific time frame for when the doors would be opened to more than just the launch partners, and he said that Google is listening to feedback on the games API before it moves forward.

Facebook, Google+'s closest competitor, has made games and other Web apps available to users for some time now—it's one of the highlights for some of Facebook's user base, and one reason why plenty of users are choosing to stick with Facebook instead of checking out Google+. But after the launch of Google+ just over a month ago, many early adopters applauded the new social network's complete lack of games, preferring not to have their streams cluttered with updates from virtual worlds that they couldn't care less about.

Google's implementation of games—and likely future apps as well—tries to appease both crowds. Gamers can go to their corner and play to their heart's content, sharing updates and achievements among themselves, while the rest of Google+'s user base doesn't have to see them. As a non-gamer myself (who admittedly does find it annoying to see constant game updates in my Facebook feed), I find it hard to be offended in any way by Google's choice of implementation.

What about you? Although we suspect many Ars readers aren't the Facebook gaming type, does Google's announcement sway you to try out Google+ if you haven't already? What about the possibility of other apps, like those that plug into your feed and report what you've been listening to? Are you a developer who plans to jump on board ASAP, or are you going to wait it out? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: social networks

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