Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Google's Zamboni Game

If you haven't already played it check out for their Zamboni doodle. Rather than just replacing their logo with an iconic image referencing Zamboni's life and works, Google's created a full video game out of it which will allow users to manipulate a virtual Zamboni machine with their their desktop computer's arrow keys or mouse.

The game starts with a skater dashing around what was a perfectly groomed ice-rink. Immediately after they depart, we see the user's Zamboni machine appear. The challenge is to clear up all of the ice without running out of fuel, which can be picked up from red canisters along the way. The computer the presents you with ice-hockey players and the challenge becomes more intense.

No doubt Google's zapped away precious hours of hump-day productivity from American employers with this new doodle but, despite how awesome, fun and frankly amazing it is that the web page is supporting a whole gamine experience, I find that Google coil have done better.

Google Doodles are perfect examples of shareable bits of content. With Google+ being so dear to the search engine's long-term strategy, it would make sense for me to at least be able to use an in-game button to share the Doodle with my chosen friend circles.

To take it one step further, Google should allow users to track and maintain scores with the Doodle game by tying it to my Google Log-in. Then my circles would be able to see how we'll I've done. They'd be able to congratulate me or challenge me and more than starting a game network on their social sites, Google would be using magnetic content to draw people into a conversation on their Plus social media network. Engaging people in this way is something Google's been working at for some time with mixed results but the key is sitting right here, in the Doodle-- Interactivity.

When tied to the Doodles, which are a fascinating footnote to Google's general culture, Google's got a great way to grow more usage.

But wait-- there's more. why not start pinning these Doodles to a tab on the Plus pages or Google Play store? Such action would keep the conversation going. By placing this fun functionality firmly in their store Google would be giving users a reason to peruse their for-pay software, which both Advertisers and Google Play developers would appreciate.

And finally, how about doing all of the above AND developing the Doodle games with support for the Chrome and/or Safari browsers of my mobile devices? Make it easy to get me involved-- no engrossed.

Obviously, a Google Doodle game isn't going to change the entire revenue stream of the company or start a massive change in Plus usage... but earned media growth doesn't always need to come from acts that involve disruptive, game-changing, killer home run software. Incremental growth is also appreciated. Especially because if any company understands that different strategies are going to garner different audiences, it's Google.

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