updated 06:35 pm EDT, Thu June 30, 2011
Search giant expected to expand capabilities
Google may already be preparing to expand the range of features offered through Google Plus. Snippets of source code from the social network offer clear references to two new services: Google+ Games and Google+ Qestions. The presence of gaming code corroborates a number of earlier leaks and speculation surrounding job postings, both suggesting the search giant has been quietly working to build its own web-based gaming platform.
Google last year was said to be involved in talks with Zynga, allegedly attempting to woo the developer into a strategic partnership worth as much as $200 million. The search company has yet to publicly confirm the reports, however its job postings added further evidence that a games group was being organized.
Aside from the Games feature, the Google+ code includes a list of references to a Questions feature that may work alongside the +1 system. Prompts appear to notify users when someone +1's their question, shares a question, adds a comment, or receives an answer.
"You might try rephrasing or tagging your question to make it easier for someone to answer," the code reads.
An Engadget report points out that Google last year acquired Aardvark, a company that specialized in question-and-answer services. After a user enters a question into Aardvark's system, the company finds a person likely to provide an accurate answer and attempts to provide a response within several minutes. "Tap the knowledge of people in your network!" the startup's website proclaims.
Google+ has just entered public beta stage, though the invite-only program has already been temporarily halted due to overwhelming demand. The company has yet to announce plans to add gaming capabilities or the Questions feature.