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Google making social games w/ new ‘Arcade’ Area 120 startup, targeting summer launch

Google’s grand social ambitions have mostly tapered down following the failure of the original Google+. The latter social network is now focused on communities, while social features exist in apps like Google Duo and Photos. However, a new report today reveals that Google is working on social games, with a launch as soon as this summer.

Bloomberg today detailed a new initiative named “Arcade” from Area 120 led by a Facebook “wunderkind.” As the name suggests, Google is interested in games — specifically social gaming — with the first app reportedly involving trivia, likely following the success of HQ earlier this year.

Arcade is “focused on mobile gaming with friends,” according to a Google statement provided to Bloomberg. This “very early experiment” is led by the now 21-year-old Michael Sayman who interned at Facebook at the age of 17.

He officially joined the social media giant as an engineer at 18 where he advised Facebook executives on youth interests and matters.

In 2017, he jumped ship to become a product manager on Google Assistant, but Sayman is now working in Area 120, Google’s internal incubator where employees can experiment. Despite the “very early” nature, of what is effectively a startup with staff and financing for marketing, designing, and engineering, the first game could come as soon as this summer.

All Area 120 products could eventually be integrated into the broader company, but true to its startup nature could alternatively shut down. Bloomberg notes that this was the case with voice messaging app Supersonic. Meanwhile, last weekend, we spotted a big update is planned for Reply — another Area 120 initiative to add smart reply to all notifications and apps.

9to5Google’s Take

Beyond Android and of course Daydream VR, Google’s other primary investment in gaming is a rumored streaming service. “Yeti” reportedly features console hardware and a backend to stream games from the cloud. Meanwhile, earlier this year, Google hired a gaming veteran of Microsoft and Sony to lead an unknown new division.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: