Google+ Adds Games, Opens Privacy Concerns

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Google added a dozen games to Google+ this week, including popular titles like Angry Birds, Zynga Poker, and more.  The Google+ Games service opened quietly, but immediately got attention from users who saw the privacy implications in Google’s permissions agreement when using one of the games.

Of course, games on social platforms like Google+, Fecebook, etc. require some access to the user’s profile.  After all, social games aren’t all that social if the game can’t see your network and tie you in with friends who are also playing the game.  It’s when the requests for information go beyond that and begin to get nosy that people get dicey.

Google+ Games requires users to allow the game access to almost their entire profile: from email to real name to Circles and their inhabitant’s importance.. This is a little too much for many users, who are complaining loudly about the intrusion just to gain access to some simple browser games.

Games began rolling out on Thursday, August 11 and are now available to nearly all G+ users.  Game announcements are currently limited to the Circle in which a friend is housed on your account.

On Google’s side in this debate is the fact that all of the permissions sought are listed right up-front when the user first accesses the game.  The user can refuse and not play the game and game announcements are currently limited to only those which players choose specifically to share with their Circles.

While many Google+ users are irked about the games being added (and the permissions requested), they are no worse than any other in the industry – better in some regards.  Through creative use of Circles and by choosing to ignore the Games tab altogether, G+ users can almost entirely avoid games on the platform.

For Google’s part, adding games is a big move towards competition with Facebook on the mainstream popularity front.


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