Google Games discovered in Google+ code

Some judicious digging through the Google+ code has revealed the Google Games logo, further evidence that the search giant is preparing an online social gaming system to rival Facebook's. Flagged up by TechCrunch tipster Yvo Schaap, in addition to the logo – relatively uninspiring, but certainly in-keeping with the minimalist aesthetic at Google+ – there are also mentions of various gaming APIs yet to be implemented publicly.

These APIs include "/_/games/getGameFriends", "/_/games/getActivities" and" /_/games/postToStream" which add up to suggest playing online games and challenges with people in your Google+ circles. The results of those matches can then apparently be pushed to your own news stream, presumably allowing you to boast about recent conquests.

Although the Google Games logo discovery is new, the talk of an online gaming service from the company is certainly not. Almost a year ago, leaks suggested work was underway on a Facebook challenge that would "be part of broader social-networking initiative that is under development" and which would "incorporate and go beyond Buzz." Casual game studios Playdom, Electronic Arts' Playfish and Zynga were all tipped to be involved, and Google is believed to have invested between $100m and $200m in Zynga back in mid-2010.

There's no shortage of game developers wanting a taste of the Google+ action, either. Several have gone public with their intentions, including suggestions that they have been working with a "social gaming team" within the company. Google itself is yet to confirm the plans, but developer lead Vic Gundotra has said that APIs are in the pipeline.