Google to launch Maps-based game for Google+ in February

googles new gameGoogle’s “your world” theme is carried into the gaming realm with the announcement of an original title powered by WebGL. The title will be coming to Google+ Games exclusively in February 2012.

The game was announced quietly in a demo video yesterday. It is Google Maps-based and was developed by the Maps team for Google’s gaming platform. The demo video features a cube with a map overlay. Players will have to navigate a blue ball through the location, similar to marble tilt games like Marble Madness or the Wii’s Marble Mania. It seems like the player’s marble will need to touch the marked locations on the cube map in order to accumulate points and advance to the next area. Once the marble rolls over the markers, users get a small piece of information about the location.

There’s not much else to go on from the 27 second teaser. It’s a simple offering with a catchy tune, and it seems like a good start to original content. The WebGL technology which powers the game allows for 3D graphics without any need for installing additional software. The YouTube video links to an interactive Google Maps primer.

Mashable points out the Zagat blip in the game demo and says that the new game could be a way to “push the popular Zagat Ratings further into the spotlight using gamification.” Players could possibly earn points for Zagat-attached venues.

The Google+ Games platform arrived in August and features many of the games people were used to from Facebook, such as Zynga’s Farmville as well as the popular Angry Birds title. In-site gaming is a good source of business for Facebook, which Google dipped into as well with the launch of Games. Of course, Facebook as well as Plus functioned as middlemen for companies like Zynga and Roku; but this could be an interesting shift in Plus’ favor if Google’s planning on developing more original games.

Emerging Tech

Google’s radar-sensing tech could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.
Web

Google Chrome’s latest decision could prevent most ad-blockers from functioning

Google Chrome's newest change is cited as a step forward for speed and security, but could profoundly alter how the majority of ad-blocking extensions operate. The move potentially gives Google more control over which ads can be blocked.
Social Media

Google will begin shutting down the classic Hangouts app in October

Google confirmed that it will begin retiring the classic Google Hangouts app in October. The company will start by pushing users to move to the new Google Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.
Computing

Chromebook 13 vs. Google Pixelbook: Acer model takes on the king

Acer's Chromebook 13 is throwing tons of speed at the Chrome OS market, to go with a midrange build and traditional clamshell design. Is that enough to challenge the Google Pixelbook?
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.
Social Media

Nearly 75 percent of U.S. users don’t realize Facebook tracks their interests

Did you know Facebook tracks your interests, including political and multicultural affiliations? According to a recent Pew study, 74 percent of adult users in the U.S. have no idea Facebook keeps a running list of your interests.
Mobile

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Social Media

Twitter suffers privacy scare as bug reveals tweets of protected accounts

If you set your Twitter account to private and you have an Android device, you'd better check your settings now. Twitter says it's just fixed a four-year-old bug that flipped the privacy switch to make the account public.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts as well as your Story.
Social Media

How to download Instagram Stories

Curious about how to save someone's Instagram Story to your phone? Lucky for you, it can be done -- but it does take a few extra steps. Here's what you need to know to save Instagram Stories on both iOS and Android.