Google+ vs. Facebook: Gaming War On

Opinion
Tech Analyst Jake Thompson

The war is on between Facebook and Google+ to win the hearts of users and last as the reigning king of social networking.

Google+ is stepping up the game as it announced plans on Thursday to bring gaming features into the site, including popular games such as Angry Birds, which could be a major advantage in the fight to topple Facebook. Other games include Bejeweled Blitz, Diamond Dash, Zombie Lane, Crime City, City of Wonder, Dragon Age Legends, and Dragons of Atlantis.

"With the Google+ project, we want to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web. But sharing is about more than just conversations. We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life," Google's official blog read.

"Games could be incredibly powerful in the social networking wars," said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group regarding Google's strategy.

As for non-gamers, "If you're not interested in games, it's easy to ignore them. Your stream will remain focused on conversations with the people you care about," Vic Gundotra, a senior vice president of engineering at Google explained in a blog entry

Right after Google's announcement, Facebook also revealed tweaks to the gaming platform and plans to provide a separate stream to allow gamers to see their high scores and friends' gaming activity. Facebook also invited reporters to play new gaming products and speak with developers on Friday.

Already one-quarter of the Facebook population plays a social game (such as Farmville) and Google's latest move could simply be that they are addressing the importance of games in social networking. 

With Google fiercely attempting to level the competition, Facebook is not one to stay idle but will likely be rolling out similar, if not better, features of its own in order to satisfy, sustain and grow the current 750 million user base.

It would be interesting to see how the battle will be played out in the coming months

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