Update: The game is back up under a different title.
On Wednesday, we posted an article about a game called Google Guns, which was essentially a Combat (as in the old Atari game)-style tank game, which utilized Google Maps to let you shoot at other tanks in any real-world location of your choosing.
Developer Walewijn den Boer tells me on Google+ that Google has made him take the game down. “Unfortunately Google made me take down the page. They were afraid it might make people think it was a real Google service,” he says. “I let them know who to contact if they ever want to make a proper Google strategy game.”
He says Google told him:
‘We noted that you are using our brand name and stylized your website in a way that is likely to create confusion as to whether your game is associated with or sponsored by Google. Section 8.4(b) of our API terms explicitly prohibits misuse of our Brand Features in this manner.’
“It did have a tiny disclaimer at the bottom saying that this application had nothing to do with Google in any way, but I was certain I would run into some legal trouble sooner or later,” den Boer says.
Actually, Google would likely be fine with the game if the name were changed, but den Boer doesn’t have any plans to release it under a different name.
Unfortunately, we didn’t keep the Google logo part in the screen shot we took of the game, but here’s what it looked like:
“In my free work I focus a lot on the power of the internet and the way it shapes our world (see here, for example),” he says. “I wanted to use the Google layout to give the game an interesting context, else it would just be a rather boring Command&Conquer clone.”
“Putting Google and warfare in the same context raises questions about the influence of this big company on the way we see the world, the role it has now and the role it could play in the future,” he adds. “It also has to do with cyberwarfare, and the way the internet can empower anyone on earth with great power, for good and for evil. In that respect it is a critical project, in a way.”
He says he has no plans to make the game available online in a Google friendly manner, as it would “lose its context and just be a boring strategy game.”