Google+ users may get surprised when they notice new icon on top on Thursday — a small icon signifying that Google+ Games had gone live.
The social network began offering a range of games from publishers including Zynga, Rovio and Wooga, but minutes after Google announced the offering on its Official Blog, it disappeared. “Games will be gradually rolling out so you might not see it right away,” a Google rep says.
Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering for Google, stressed that the games, when they do eventually go live, won’t be appearing in everyone’s stream, an apparent veiled jab at Facebook, which lets game updates appear in its Top News and Most Recent streams.
“That means giving you control over when you see games, how you play them and with whom you share your experiences, Gundotra wrote on Thursday. “Games in Google+ are there when you want them and gone when you don’t.” Likewise, your scores will only be displayed to people in one of your circles when they themselves are interested in playing games too. “If you’re not interested in games, it’s easy to ignore them,” Gundotra writes. “Your stream will remain focused on conversations with the people you care about.”
The blog entry displays 16 game titles from 10 developers including Zynga Poker, Angry Birds and Sudoko all designed to work on google+.
The launch of Google+ games is no surprise. Back in June, a reference to “Google+ Games” appeared in Google+ code. Google has been taking its time to make sure Google+ is fully functional before wide release and before it starts accepting branded profiles, but gaming is clearly a big step toward building a viable competitor to Facebook.
What do you think? Does Google’s strategy with google+ games makes sense? What games would you like to see on the platform? Let us know in the comments.
Update: If you don’t have access to Google+ games yet, check out the Google-produced video below for a look at what to expect.