Google Plus Games and Facebook Privacy Comparison

By: Lisa Braziel - August 12, 2011

For those of us eagerly awaiting brand pages, Google Plus has recently thrown us a bone in our wait by adding a new “Games” offering to its social network. These games are reminiscent of the current games that are available on Facebook, however they provide a user another area to engage on Google Plus and could encourage higher frequency of usage. Below is my quick review of the Games offering, and an initial comparison of the current privacy settings.

Google Plus Games Overview

If a user is part of the Games Beta, when they log into Google Plus they will have the option to go to a new “Games” section of the network. Within this section, users will be greeted with a selection of games they can play from popular game developers like Zynga, PopCap, and Rovio. At first blush, the selection of games to start with is pretty impressive and for the most part familiar. At this point the familiarity of these game providers will entice users of similar games on Facebook, and also build a higher level of trust as users allow these companies to have permission to specific data.

Once a user has activated a game and accepted permissions, the user will have the opportunity to play the game. After playing the first game of Angry Birds, I was greeted with a pop-up that would allow me to post my new high score in Angry Birds. There I could choose to post it to everyone, or select specific circles to share this activity with. All of this activity aggregates under a separate “Games Stream” that is separate from my profile. This actually encourages relevant game sharing, while preventing game spam.

Google Plus Developers are Requesting More

It’s interesting to see how Developers are approaching the number of requests on Google Plus versus Facebook. In the screenshots below, you can see developers like PopCap and Zynga are only requesting basic information on Facebook to run their games, while for the same game on Google Plus they are asking for more detailed information of users such as their email address or Circle information.

Google Plus Game Permissions

Facebook Game Permissions

Google Plus Games Privacy

Google is obviously still tweaking Google Games, and privacy changes are inevitable. Instead of following in the footsteps of Facebook, the service is feeling out the borders themselves. Currently, after playing a game on Google, I couldn’t find an easy location to control the information the game provider could access. At this point in time, this type of control is not only expected but will be demanded from current users of the service. Until then, initial game developers may have a field day.

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Lisa Braziel

About the Author

Lisa BrazielAs a Social Media Strategist for Ignite Social Media, Lisa Braziel outlines social media tactics and develops social media campaigns to help companies reach customers and build brand advocates. Her expertise in project management and marketing additionally guides the execution of these campaigns.

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  • GooglePlus

    the Google+ games API will attract many apps developers that will get Google+ moving like has Android in the months.
    the Google Plus API will be available to developers soon:

  • Mary

    Can’t wait to have Farmville on this. FB. is a pain

  • Tomas

    Actually g+ and fb are asking pretty much for the same – it’s just that g+ is more verbose about what they ask for while fb just name everything with one word without telling you what it really means.

  • anonamiss

    I understand the need for a game to have some token to identify you by to create a consistent experience between sessions, however this is where Facebook went wrong, and it seems like G+ is headed the same way.

    Instead of Google passing our information to outside vendors, why not simply create semi-anonymous hash tokens to send vendors, and which would be internally (on Google servers) linked to our profile? That would give:

    -The game vendors a token to identify (anonymous) users and store preferences/high-scores/whatever on their servers
    -They could even send email requests to Google along with that token and then:
    -Google would check if that app has permission to email the user
    -Google would check if the email seems like spam
    -That way the games publisher would not have our email addresses (which could be used for other purposes outside of G+, policy or not),keeping honest people honest.
    -In the same way as emails games could send stream posting requests along with the hash.

    “Give Permission For All Information We Want or Don’t Play” is bad policy. If instead each app provided the screen above with checkboxes next to them, users could decide what permissions each app had (down to none.) This would actually lead to more trust because users would not feel they are being strong-armed into giving permissions.

    “Games are social” but my information should not, and does not need to be. Google should be brokering these things between users and vendors instead of giving publishers direct access to our information.

    The status-quo is a sales/marketing-driven anti-privacy stance. It leads to wide dissemination of personal information and dissatisfaction not only for game vendors, but with the social networking site itself. This is why many people have been looking for an alternative to FaceBook, and with Google’s infrastructure it’s a disaster easily adverted.

  • Vipra Geek

    Google is taking serious steps to take facebook down but i don’t think facebook can be beaten… it’s about being first in the field and a good idea, facebook has both..

    • frann leach

      Yeah. Like Myspace in social networks, or AltaVista in search, perhaps.

  • Liberty Reserve

    Am yet to be a Google+ user, someone should invite me..

  • m

    I have had a look at the games. The look slick but I have not played any yet.

  • frann leach

    I think the differences in permissions are probably more cosmetic than real. In facebook, you don’t need an email address to send notifications to a user, but most likely at this time you do need it in G+.

  • Michael

    Information is the currency that is used to “buy” the game. It’s really established by now and if google wants a little bit more information about us than google it probably won’t bother most of the users too much. Unfortunately, accepting the sharing of personal information with companies has become the new standart on the internet.

  • Paul Williams

    I found this link to a page where you can revoke the permissions for specific games:

    If the link doesn’t ork then you can get to it by clicking on Privacy at the bottom of your Google+ stream and then “settings page” in the “Third-Party Apps” section near the bottom of the resultant screen.

  • Láďa

    This is misleading because “Access my basic information” on Facebook covers all informations included in Google+ permission dialogue except e-mail. So they are asking the same + e-mail and Google+ is only more descriptive.