Shortly after Google+ was unveiled, Engadget got a tip from someone who dug deep into its source code and found verbal references to something called Google Games. A tipster of ours has now dug a little deeper and managed to find more of them.
You may remember another tipster found the logo for Google Music ahead of its debut at some point as well, although that only took a simple URL tweak.
Aside from the logo, Schaap also found references to API endpoints such as “/_/games/getGameFriends”, “/_/games/getActivities” and, perhaps more interestingly, “/_/games/postToStream”, pointing to a characteristically social gaming service.
Of course, the actual existence of a Google-branded social gaming service, which is yet to be launched, let alone announced, shouldn't be too much of a surprise.
As we revealed a year ago, Google quietly invested $100 million or more in social gaming giant Zynga. They acquired Slide, which also develops social games, and its investment arm Google Ventures backed gaming companies like ngmoco, Kabam and SCVNGR.
At one point, they even recruited gaming industry vet Mark DeLoura (formerly of Ubisoft, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Nintendo and others) as developer advocate for game-related products, though he quit after only 4 months on the job (he's now a VP at THQ).
Google has learned that any consumer-focused platform needs games in order to thrive by looking at the success of Android if not simply by observing the rapid rise of Facebook, and it makes sense for its social networking service Google+ to incorporate games in that regard.
In fact, Google's edge in the mobile app distribution space and the spectacular growth of the Android platform should make Google Games – in whatever form it takes shape – all the more interesting.
As Inside Social Games pointed out when the first references to Google Games were unearthed, we should consider the fact that Google SVP Vic Gundotra used to oversee the company's mobile app strategy prior to co-heading Google's social efforts.
What Google's social gaming platform will eventually look like – and how it will be positioned and if it will be able to adequately compete with Facebook and other online gaming platforms – is anyone's guess for the moment, though I have the feeling it won't take that much longer for Google to start talking more about its imminent foray into the gaming industry.