Google has made a number of overtures toward the gaming industry within the past month. In early July, reports surfaced that Google had committed $100 million to $200 million to Farmville creator Zynga, a cornerstone to Facebook's online casual games sector. Two weeks later, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google was actively courting a number of casual game developers for its rumored Facebook-competing social networking service, Google Me.
Into August, and Google hosted a full-blown Think Gaming summit, an analyst event in which the search-engine giant outlined the areas where it saw opportunities in the gaming space. And while the contents of that presentation remain under lock and key, event attendee and Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian did offer some insight into Google's position on gaming.
Sebastian believes that a gaming push from Google presents a solid opportunity to drive growth for the company's smartphone OS Android, Web browser Chrome, and online purchasing hub Google Checkout. In particular, the search giant would most benefit from the social component of these casual games, where users could easily be lured to the company's various other products. Sebastian said that he also expects Google to launch an App Store within the Chrome browser.
The industry analyst also believes that a wider adoption of games by Google will help the search giant stave off the growing threat of Facebook, which itself is seeking a head of game industry relations. Sebastian went so far as to call the adoption of games a "strategic necessity" for Google, saying 40 percent of the time the some 500 million users of Facebook spend on the site is used to play games.