Surprise, Google Plus Adds Games

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Now there’s something we didn’t see coming: Google Plus (or Google+, if you want to get technical), Google’s Facebook-Twitter rejoinder, just revealed it’s adding games to its social networking roster, or will be shortly. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

Google seems to think you didn’t. The company’s official blog announcement opens with a light and friendly nostalgic nod to offline family gaming, as if the notion of gaming together online were something we’d never thought of until, you know, Google did.

(MORE: Google +1s for Sale to Desperate Websites)

But no, says Google, it just wants “to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web” and “make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life.” I guess when your bottom line press release is “Hey, we’ve got the same games everyone else has had for ages!”, you need to add that something extra.

So yes, if you’ve been waiting for Google Plus to add stuff like Angry Birds, Bewjeweled Blitz, Diamond Dash and Zynga Poker, they’ve arrived, or they’re about to. When I logged into my Google Plus account this morning, the button to access them still wasn’t live. It’ll sit to the right of the “Circles” button, per the screenshot above, and Google swears it’ll stay out of your way (and your social feeds) unless you click it.

When you do, “You can see the latest game updates from your circles, browse the invites you’ve received and check out games that people you know have played recently.” Google says the “Games” page will also show your “game accomplishments” and let you share your high scores, noting that “your circles will only see the updates when they’re interested in playing games too.” Thank goodness.

Google says it’s rolling games out “gradually” to Google Plus members, and to watch for the “Games” button to appear soon.

MORE: Ask Techland: How Do You Sync Updates on Google+, Facebook and Twitter?

Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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