INTERNET SEARCH GIANT Google has added games to its Google+ social networking service.
Games are of course already a big part of the social networking landscape and titles on Facebook such as Farmville are beguilingly popular, so the introduction of them on Google+ is no surprise. The titles might be though, as one of them is Angry Birds.
The addition was introduced by Vic Gundotra, SVP of engineering at Google, who, like a large part of the UK, is a gamer.
"My family has a games closet. Inside you'll find a few decks of cards, two decades' worth of board games and a Twister mat for those times when we're feeling limber. Playing games is a great way for us to spend quality time with each other (and a little healthy competition never hurt anyone either)," he said.
"Today we're adding games to Google+. With the Google+ project, we want to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web. But sharing is about more than just conversations. The experiences we have together are just as important to our relationships. We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life."
Ah, thats nice. But regardless of the social message the addition of games was likely from the start. The Google executive also explained that the user has control over the applications.
"That means giving you control over when you see games, how you play them and with whom you share your experiences. Games in Google+ are there when you want them and gone when you don't," he added.
"When you're ready to play, the Games page is waiting - click the games button at the top of your stream. 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."
This is neat and tidy, and yes, if we were looking for games in Google+ we would accept that these are games, and yes they are in Google+. If you aren't looking for games, then that is fine too because Google has catered for people like you.
"If you're not interested in games, it's easy to ignore them. Your stream will remain focused on conversations with the people you care about," added Gundotra.
Google will gradually introduce Games across Google+.
Separately, but not unrelated, Facebook has given its games features a bit of a tweak and has added a feed, or a ticker, that tells you where your friends are playing and what they are playing at.
"When you're playing games, you'll now see a separate stream of your friends' game activity, scores and achievements in a ticker," wrote Facebook's Jared Morgenstern in a blog post.
"The best way to find new games is through friends, and now you'll have more opportunities to see what they're playing."
Whether your friends like this or not is moot of course, this is Facebook, but individuals can put a checkmark against sharing this in their settings. Of course it would have been better for this to have been opt-in, but, again, this is Facebook.
Should you want to play games on Facebook you can also do so on a larger screen as the result of the update. Games that can be expanded to the full screen include Zoo World, and Morgenstern said that Facebook will roll out the feature in the next few days. µ
X marks the smart home
The lens said the better
Samsung is planning a camera 'overhaul'