Google Plus Games: neat idea, doom for Facebook

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And… the games are here. Yes, one of the most important part in “monetization” aspect is now already here and Google+ from a social experiment will now be turned into a profitable social experiment. Even though the games themselves are free, there are plenty of chances to earn a bit of money.

First the good part: it all works, and most games look quite pretty. So far my favorite one is Diamond Dash. It’s your average Bejeweled, but of slightly different design. Few fast clicks here and there and you’ve got a weekly record. Yay! Games vary from Framville clone to classic (Bejeweled) and puzzles (Flood-it — one of the worst games, actually). Social aspect is probably the best in Angry Birds — you see who has higher score and compete for the position in chart.

Now the not-so-good part: there are some bugs, which is inevitable. The platform is new, so here and there you can run into issues. Ironically, the social aspect of sharing is usually the one riddled with most problems.
Diamond Dash pretty much hangs if you try to post something (or even worse, “remembers” your attempts and then whacks the game screen in the middle of the game with “Share your score” screen you thought would never come). Angry Birds can easily screw up score and post a bragging message with “new high score of 0!” Try to beat that.

And the awful part: Monetization is a go! Which means some games (*cough* Zombie Lane *cough*) nag you every freaking five minutes. Most games do, but while Panda is whailing about you running out of harts and begs you to beg friends to send you some extra lives, Zombie Lane goes overboard. Every few minutes, as soon as you run out of “energy” you get “Buy a virtual hot dog with real $1.50!” (and then spend all of that energy on fixing your virtual fence or something). This gets old and mega-annoying really fast.

There are also occasional “nerd” games too. I’m talking about Flood-id. Mostly because the game gets everything wrong. It’s ugly as sin. It has no pretty animations. You are not rewarded in any way until you actually successfully pass through the whole game, which is a tough task. Heck, you get anti-rewarded with reminder that out of 50 games you’ve successfully painted, oh, I don’t know, 1. Maybe. You also don’t get any hints or any “difficulty levels”. Yuk. It needs a make-over.

Privacy aspect is also kinda interesting. Most games want to know about you at least basic info — name/demographic data etc. Understandable. A few also want to send you email — a bit more alarming. Most want to know who are in your circles. Okay, I guess. Primarily because they pull in the list of friends into game. Zombie Lane allows you to “visit friends” (and eat all their vegetables), Flood-it awkwardly suggests you to “challenge” this or that friend, and most games show chart with your friends in it.

Except there’s no easy way to get rid of the game once you’ve added. For a moment there, I even thought that the remainder of my failed Zombified vegetable farming will stay on my Games page of Google Plus forever (horrors) and they’d be able to spam me too with “your carrots are wilting” or something akin to that, but no. Here’s what you need to do:
- upper right corner, click on your name (to the left of the notification count square) then click Account Settings
- click Edit next to Authorizing applications & sites
- Authorized Access to your Google account page will have a list of everything, that will also include games.

I know, awkward… Anyways, just click here, find the game you want to forget forever, and click “Revoke Access” link next to it.
Because the act of hoarding of your information is, undoubtedly, evil (well, from their point of view :) ) you’re not presented with any confirmation or anything. Heck, the confirmation screen doesn’t even say what was that thing that you just revoked access from:

So, be careful. But at least it’s editable.
Except that game will still be in the list of “recently played”, but your information will no longer be shared with game developer.

Now, the only things left for me to be practically completely happy with Google Plus are:
- normal navigation, with, say, an archive or calendar of sorts, as trying to catch a post that quickly scrolled down into oblivion is almost impossible (how many times do you need to click Show More to get a post from last Monday? Exactly…)
- search. For goodness’ sake, you’re a search giant. What do you mean I can’t search my stream?
- a bit more control over editing, as it doesn’t allow, say, photos with video AND a link
- human readable URL. I know Google is for Robots (and I’ve been saying that for quite a while) but this is ridiculous. Third party service so that https://plus.google.com/104034007110607636930 could be turned into something easier to deal with, like http://gplus.to/msmolev
And that’s pretty much it.

Enjoy your games (and add me to your circle if you want a shared game invite or something)

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