Google launches Play Games app for social Android gaming

New Google app shows you what your friends are playing on Android, and taps Google+.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn

Google on Wednesday introduced a new social-gaming service for Android that mixes its online store and Google+.

Dubbed "Play Games," the app is a mix of a games store and a social network -- showing you what your Google+ friends are playing, and how far they've progressed.

The software leverages Google's Play Games services, which the company introduced at its IO conference earlier this year. That includes multiplayer gaming, leaderboards, and achievements. During a press conference on Wednesday, where Play Games was introduced, Google said "hundreds" of games have added those services, with "millions" of people playing.

The offering joins a handful of competing services from rivals, notably Apple with its Game Center service, Amazon's GameCircle, and Microsoft and Sony with their Xbox Live and PlayStation Network services, respectively.

Gaming is big on Android, Google said on Wednesday, noting that 19 out of the top 20 game developers are building games on the platform. The company also added a new section in its Play Store for games designed specifically for tablets, in order to make them easier to find.

Google said the software would be available later on Wednesday on its Play Store.