One of the first things noticed by people signing up for Google+ is the lack of games and quizzes spamming their stream. That may change in the future. Recently references like “/_/games/getGameFriends”, “/_/games/getActivities”, and “/_/games/postToStream” have been found in the Google+ API. These come after a job opening was posted looking for a Product Manager for games that “will be significantly influencing Google’s social platform”. In addition, a new help page that directs readers to “check out your Games stream” if they wish to see updates shared from games.
All of these point to one thing – Google is bringing games to Google+. However, it appears to be designed very differently from Facebook’s. Facebook games frustrate many people because they are mixed into people’s status updates. This leaves you with two options: either block the application, or removes that person’s status updates from your feed. Google+ appears to be taking an approach that separates game updates from your main stream, and puts them in their own “Games stream”.
EDIT @ 7:21PM EST, 7/23/11: When contacted, a Google spokesperson wouldn’t confirm nor deny that games were coming to Google Plus:
Google+ is an ongoing project and this is just the beginning. We plan to add a lot of features and functionality to Google+ over time.
Analysis: I’ll be completely honest –when I first read of the possibility of games on Google+, I feared for the worst. I abhor Facebook games. I’ve played a few myself, but after being spammed with application updates on my News Feed, I stopped sharing any updates out of respect for other people. I no longer play Facebook games, but many people do, and I hate having to explicitly block applications from showing up.
However, after doing some research I discovered that Google is going about this the right way. It won’t be annoying if I don’t have to see it unless I go to my “Games stream”. That is clearly the approach Facebook should have taken with their applications, but Google has a lot more experience than Facebook when it comes to design. I’m willing to bet that once this launches, Facebook may rethink their approach. The point still stands, however, that Google is very meticulous about their design choices and aren’t as likely to make bad ones. Facebook, on the other hand, is still a child in the web design field.