Google+, Day 14: Playing Games on Google+

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30 Days With Google+: Day 14

For many Google+ pioneers, one of the most redeeming qualities of the nascent social network was the lack of games. The bad news is that it didn't last long, though, because now Google+ does have games. The good news is that Google+ is using a different approach that should make the games less annoying for those who choose not to partake.

At the top of the Google+ screen there are five icons to click on. From left to right, they are Home, Photos, Profile, Circles, and Games. When I click on the Games icon, I am taken to the Games screen which has a huge rotating banner of "Featured Games". On the left, there are links for Featured Games, All Games, and Game Notifications, and below that a section that shows games I have recently played.

Google+ keeps game notifications, and achievements separate from your Stream.
What I Like

I've been on Facebook long enough to get my share of "Join my Mafia Wars family" requests from friends and family. I have learned to deplore many games, including Mafia Wars, FarmVille, and CityVille, and developed a healthy distaste for Zynga without having ever even played any of the developer's games.

I understand some people love the social gaming aspect of social networking, but I don't really. So, as far as I'm concerned your polite invitation for me to join your game is just spam getting in the way of my social networking.

Thankfully, Google+ has learned a thing or two from the backlash on other social networks, and it has implemented games in a way that lets social gamers enjoy all of the things they like about gaming on a social network, without imposing on the social networking activities of those who aren't interested in the games.

A post from the Official Google Blog explains, "When you're ready to play, the Games page is waiting--click the games button at the top of your stream. You can see the latest game updates from your circles, browse the invites you've received and check out games that people you know have played recently. The Games page is also where your game accomplishments will appear. So you can comfortably share your latest high score--your circles will only see the updates when they're interested in playing games too.

In a nutshell, gamers can still game, and non-gamers can still use their social networks without being spammed. I may still get invites to various social networking games, but they won't clog my Google+ Stream. The only way I will see invite notifications, or updates from people in my Circles about their latest gaming achievements and exploits is if I go to the Games page myself.

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