Google really wants to be Facebook. Like, really, really. A lot.
Facebook has personalized the Internet in ways that Google — with all its Internet lordship — completely overlooked. And one area Facebook has excelled at, surprisingly, has been gaming. There are few games on Facebook that hardcore gamers flock to, but casual gamers who love puzzles (and tending gardens and farms and stuff) are playing Facebook games in droves — and they’re playing with their friends thanks to that added “social” aspect. With Facebook Credits, add-ons are easily acquired, making Facebook Games a lucrative business.
Is it any wonder that Google wants a slice of that action? With the advent of Google+, Google’s new social network that’s being rolled out slowly through invites (which serve mainly to make those on the outside feel left out — but I’m not bitter!), it looks like the Internet giant is already got plans in the works to jump into social gaming.
Engadget uncovered some lines referring to Google + Games buried right inside the service’s source code. What does this mean for you? That soon you’ll have more than one option for where to play Mafia Wars and the like. And that Google will no doubt want to take advantage of some of Google+’s clever features with its games. Features like Circles, which lets you create distinct groupings of friends; it’s easy to see how players could create gaming Circles, for staying connected to the people that you play with and against. Or Hangouts, a feature that lets you create on-the-fly group video chats; games could use this for direct interaction during play.
Google recently made a huge investment in Zynga, the game developer behind FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and many other popular Facebook games. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Google was so interested in social gaming.
But this isn’t Google’s first foray into gaming. Their mobile operating system, Android, is loaded with available games, and even the Chrome web browser has a web app store, which already has plenty of games inside (including — what are the odds? — Mafia Wars, CityVille, and lots more; they even have Angry Birds, but then who doesn’t?).
No idea when Google+ Games launches, but the smart money says “soon.”