Google said from day one it would be adding features throughout its field test to the more than 25+ million users using Google+. The next rollout in Google+ was revealed in the addition of games to the social network.
While Games have not been rolled out to every user, they will be adding more users to the mix in the coming weeks to test out the functionality and new features of G+ games. Google+ will add more games to the mix as time goes on.
So is this just the start of a new type of gaming for social networking platforms – or its similar to what we already see on Facebook? I would agree with the latter.
A First look at how Google+ games work
Google+ plans to open games to developers so that new games and exclusive titles can be played through the social network in the future. Google+ currently offers twelve games to users. Some of these games are familiar, some have been developed for Google+.
These games include: Angry Birds, Bejeweled Blitz, Bubble Island, City of Wonder, Collapse! Blast!, Crime City, Diamond Dash, Dragon Age Legends, Dragons of Atlantis, Edge World, Flood-It!, Monster World, Sudoku, Wild Ones, Zombie Lane, Zynga Poker.
In order to get started with Google+ Games, you want to take a look at your header bar.
If you are currently one of the lucky few testing games, you will see the “Game” icon next to your Circles one. Click that icon to be taking to the Game Stream.
You can browse through Featured Games or All Games to begin playing. When you find one you like, click “Play,” review the terms and conditions of the game and away you go.
The Games Stream allows you to share updates from your games along with getting to see what your Circles are up to playing on their own. This is a dedicated Stream so you do not flood your primary Stream with gaming updates; this means you can stay on top of what is going on everywhere on Google+ without losing updates to gaming news.
One of the biggest issues most users might have with Google+ games is the amount of information each game receives from you. Google has explained that the information they collect is shared with the developers to help make the games they offer better and more unique.
Some of the information shared includes:
- E-mail address
- Profile photo
- Profile URL
When you play a game for the first time on Google+, you agree to share this information. You can always revoke the permission down the line but you want to make sure you know what you are getting into before you start playing any game on Google+.
For some of the games on Google+, you can actually play directly with people in your Circles or just other Google+ users. When you are playing a game that offers multiplayer functionality, such as Zynga Poker, you will click the “Invite” link in Google+ to bring in friends to play with.
If none of your friends want to play, you will be grouped up with other Google+ users for a hand. Who knows? You may just make new friends and with Circles, you can easily add them to your Google+ network.
If you do not feel comfortable inviting people to play with you, they can see what you are up to in Google+ Games by going to their own Game tab. Once there, they can see which friends are playing what and even what they have recently played. When you play certain games, some come with leader boards and other statistics that are shared with everyone playing that game.
Google+ Games will also utilize the Google Checkout service to allow you to buy items for certain games.
How to opt out of Google+ games?
At the moment, Google has not detailed exactly how you can opt out of Google+ Games entirely. On Facebook, for example, you can individually block game updates so they do not appear in your feed view. This means you can block an application like Farmville on Facebook when people on your friend’s list have 30+ updates in a row on what they are doing to keep their farm afloat.
Google+ offers a new solution to this problem for users by creating its very own Stream just for gaming. Unless you share someone’s game update, you will never see what people are doing when they are playing Google+ Games. This means your primary Stream will never be flooded with game updates you do not care to see.
What makes Google+ games different?
So far, the two biggest features Google+ Games offers that Facebook does not, are the types of games involved and a dedicated Game Stream. The Game Stream in particular is going to be a big draw to those annoyed by the way Facebook allows multiple updates for a single game to spam their feeds. Over time, more games will be added and since Google wants to encourage developers to bring games to Google+, it is possible over time to see some really exciting games to come out of how they are integrating this feature into the network.
If you are one of those already playing Google+ Games, let us know what you think. What is your favorite game? Are the games stable? Have you been able to play with those in Circles? We want to know all about your Google+ Games experience here at TechNorms!