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More hints of Google+ gaming crop up

Could you soon be playing Farmville in Google+? More signs that Google is nearing the rollout of gaming features in the social network have appeared, suggesting it's on the way.

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
2 min read
Google+ circles

One of the knocks against Google+ when putting it toe to toe with Facebook is social gaming, a feature that's turned into a monster business for both Facebook and the developers that have built Web games that run inside it.

Today one more sign that Google plans to bring something similar to Google+ has cropped up, suggesting the search giant is getting closer to adding games to the social network that is now 20 million users strong.

Slashgear today has dug up a help page from within Google+'s settings making mention of a "Games Stream" that Google says will contain "updates shared from games." Venturing to the same help page on several CNET staffers' Google+ accounts yielded no such link or mention of the feature, though Slashgear has posted a screenshot that depicts it being there.

This is the latest in a series of signs that gaming is on its way to Google+. The day after the social network launched, Engadget pulled out a snippet of code from the site making mention of game invites and "Google+ Games." Last week, TechCrunch followed up, pulling out a Google Games logo and code meant to link up features to an API. And a report from All Things D yesterday claimed that Google planned to undercut Facebook and others by taking less than 30 percent of revenue on any paid game elements, as well as hosting the titles on its own servers. (Note: Google currently gets a 5 percent take in Chrome Web Store apps.)

On top of it all, a Google job posting late last month sought a product manager for a "brand-new business" called "Games at Google."

Potentially the framework of it all is Google's Chrome Web Store. That service, which the company launched at last year's I/O event, lets users browse and install numerous Web apps, including games. Considering Google+'s multi-browser aim, the company could be going for something that limits those games to HTML5 or Adobe's Flash to keep things working across the board.