The Google+ social network now supports games such as Angry Birds, Sudoku and Zynga Poker, Google said on Thursday.
In a blog post, Google engineering chief Vic Gundotra said Google+ games were being gradually rolled out, and would be available to everyone on the social network soon. The games are the first add-ons to be allowed for the burgeoning platform.
"With the Google+ project, we want to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web," Gundotra wrote. "But sharing is about more than just conversations. The experiences we have together are just as important to our relationships. We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life."
When Google+ first launched in private beta a month and a half ago, many people welcomed a cleaner and more streamlined alternative to Facebook, which has been full of games for years. Facebook offers no way to completely shun games, although updates from specific games can be blocked as they arise.
In his post, Gundotra pointed out that those who do not want to play games in Google+ can avoid them, as the games have a dedicated page. On that page, those who do want to play can see game updates from their circles, browse invitations to games and see which games have been played recently by contacts.
"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," Gundotra added.
At almost precisely the same time as Google's announcement, Facebook said it too was making it possible to see which games friends are playing, while also introducing a full-screen option for some games.
The ability to make games invisible is just one advantage Google+ has over Facebook — according to reports on Thursday, Google is also giving game developers a much better deal than they might get on Mark Zuckerberg's site.
As GigaOm reported, Google+ mobile and games lead product manager Punit Soni and Google product chief Bradley Horowitz told reporters that Google would take only five percent of the takings in Google+ games — Facebook takes 30 percent for its in-app games, as does Apple for its iOS games.
Moreover, Soni noted that Google is looking at making its games cross-platform, so they run both on the Google+ desktop web app and on mobile phones. He also said Google+ games could potentially take advantage of the social network's multi-user video chat feature, Hangouts.
Games are also just the start for Google+ add-ons. As Gundotra said at the start of July, all sorts of third-party extensions will be coming to the platform.
A blog post on the new Google+ platform blog announcing the release of the games APIs to a small set of developers, engineering director David Glazer told developers that the games launch would let them see "the first of many types of integrations that we hope to help you build".
"We chose to start with a small number of partners so that we could experiment, get the kinks out of our APIs, and get real end-user feedback before opening up to the world," Glazer wrote on Wednesday.