"Google's expansion into games, announced Thursday, had been expected since the company unveiled its "Plus" networking service in late June. The service is being groomed to be an alternative to Facebook's popular hangout.
By adding games to Plus, Google hopes to give its fledging network's more than 25 million users a reason to come to the service more frequently and stay longer once they're there.
The strategy has worked well at Facebook, where games requiring players to fill the roles of farmers, mob bosses and card sharks have attracted obsessive followings among its more than 750 million users.
Determined to protect its turf, Facebook unveiled its latest game features just a few hours after Google issued its challenge. The new tools will make it easier for Facebook users to bookmark their favourite games and keep track of what their friends are playing.
Players will also be given the option of filling their entire computer screen with some of the games designed for Facebook.
Facebook's top games are provided by Zynga Inc., a four-year-old company hoping to sell its stock in an initial public offering this fall. Google is one of Zynga's investors, according to IPO documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The papers don't specify the size Google's stake in Zynga, which is based in San Francisco...."