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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