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GDC 2012: 'Games are key to the success of Google+'

GDC 2012: 'Games are key to the success of Google+'

March 6, 2012 | By Kris Graft

At GDC 2012 on Tuesday, Punit Soni, lead product manager for Google+ games and mobile, stressed that Google's young social network relies on game developer partnerships for growth.

Google has been working to grow its Google+ social network as Facebook -- a company whose name seemed to be actively avoided during the GDC session -- continues to dominate the space.

It's games that have the most potential for driving innovation and growth on Google+, Soni said, as games push the boundaries of technology and of social networking. So it was natural that Google would make games an integral part of Google+.

"We realized very early on that developers are key partners. ... We need to learn from you guys and build a very compelling social platform," Soni said.

He added that Google+ today is essentially Google 2.0, which is powered by a social layer. Today, Google+ has over 100 million monthly active users, and over 50 million daily active users -- numbers too big for some game developers to ignore.

Soni said users spend over one hour a day on Google properties, and reported a 5-10 percent uplift on search ads with social annotation.

Soni categorized Google+'s August 2011 closed launch with 16 games as "conservative," as the company wanted experiment and learn how games will work on the network, and how partnerships with game developers would operate.

Several months on, the company is getting a grip on the needs of game developers. "Games are key to the success of Google+," said Soni. "Next year we won't be talking about Google+ games, Chrome games, games for Native Client or Android games -- we'll just be talking about Google games."

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