One of the aspects of Google+ that I found refreshing after relying on Facebook as my primary social site for a couple of years, was Google’s simple, clean take on sharing and following. Specifically, the lack of game invites and goofy trivia surveys in the Google+ Stream. But according to some Google+ code discovered by Engadget, games and possibly surveys are likely headed to Google+. In the snippet below, we see references to Google+ game invites.
This was bound to happen, as Google has made a significant investment in Zynga–creators of the games that are successfully turning Facebook into an obnoxious novelty–and acquired Aardvark, the social Q&A system that allows people to ask and answer questions based on interests via IM, email, and other online tools. The latter is interesting to consider in terms of Google+ integration, the former…maybe not so much.
If and when these features will arise in Google+, the new social entity will be inching closer and closer to becoming a Facebook knock-off, which might ensure Plus’ perpetual lingering in the shadows of the ridiculously well established Zuckerberg site. Clearly, control of these applications will be critical to Google’s credibility as a viable competitor. Will we see a vast ocean of these apps peeking into our Streams where they are not wanted? Will they spread like a virus with misleading subscription tactics? Will Google allow the creators of these apps to outright lie in their attempts to gain momentum (click here to see who’s viewing your profile!)? Will we have to mute people who go crazy with social games, or will we be able to mute the games themselves? What about the ability to mute only the titles we find particularly annoying, or maybe all game mentions from a specific user? Perhaps simpler content control that isn’t always moving around in a confusing settings panel is the solution.
Hopefully, developers at Google will learn from Facebook’s mistakes as well as they have learned from FB’s successes. One can hope that their new black bar across Google’s properties will prove sufficient enticement to rope new subscribers in and the scammers will be kept at bay. If not, Google+ might be turning away as many users as it is gaining.