Games have arrived on Google's new social networking service, the company announced last night.
While only a few titles are currently available, and the new feature is yet to be rolled out to all users, they are a signal not only of how seriously games are being taken not just by Google itself, but by developers. Rovio is there with Angry Birds, EA with Dragon Age Legends, PopCap with Bejeweled Blitz and, of course, Zynga, with Zynga Poker.
"Today we're adding games to Google+," senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra wrote on the Google blog. "With the Google+ project, we want to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web. But sharing is about much 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."
Google has been expected to make a big move into the games business for some time – it was advertising for a product management leader to head up the project as early as last May – and late last month confirmation of sorts came from a swiftly deleted line on the Google+ help page.
While the early involvement of Zynga will doubtless help games on Google+ get off to a good start, arguably a bigger signal of the service's likely success is the presence of Angry Birds. Developer Rovio announced a Facebook version of the game back in March, and it was set for launch in May, but there is still no sign of it; instead, it seems, the studio views Google+ as a better option.