It seems that Google is testing a test that allows you to launch games from cloud streaming services (such as Google Stadia) with a single click from your search results.
As noted by Bryant Chapel (through The edge), if you search for a game available on a streaming service, you’ll get a small Play button – click that and the title will launch on the relevant cloud gaming platform, right in your browser.
Google does something similar with movies and TV shows in search: if there’s a match on a streaming platform (like Netflix or Disney Plus), you will see links to start the content next to the regular list of results.
It seems that the Google search engine has a new update for cloud gaming platforms!!! When searching for a game, players can now launch a game directly from search results using @GoogleStadia. pic.twitter.com/xblOsBpF6OAugust 11, 2022
At the time of writing, Google has not yet officially commented on this trial, so it may still be in the testing phase and may not appear for everyone. It appears to be available on both the desktop and mobile versions of the Google homepage, for those who have it.
As you’d hope, it’s not just Google Stadia that shows matches. The Play button also appears when games are enabled Amazon Luna, Nvidia GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud Gaming — showing that cloud gaming may be more advanced, with more platforms people are logged into, than you might have imagined.
Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) games can now also be launched directly from the Google search results page. pic.twitter.com/LeYbBk7SFHAugust 11, 2022
Based on what people have been able to test so far, it’s not really a smooth experience for all games on all streaming platforms (if you’re not logged in correctly or for things like XBox Cloud Gaming you have to click on some prompts or sign in at services), but that’s to be expected for a feature that has only just appeared – and it will no doubt improve over time.
Analysis: the cloud comes before gaming
Cloud gaming has yet to take off – you still need a very fast, low-latency broadband connection to really make the most of it – but it’s not hard to see the appeal of being able to stream games over the internet, just like movies or music.
For starters, you don’t need to purchase any additional hardware, and the hardware on which you run games in the cloud is always state-of-the-art.
the launch of Cyberpunk 2077 – somewhat of a mess on any platform except cloud services, as updates were quick and seamless as the developers tried to fix bugs as quickly as possible – demonstrated the benefits of a hardware and software foundation that can be constantly adjusted.
And then there’s the advantage that you can play anywhere. You can’t look Playstation 5 to the beach, but you can play online games through a browser on a tablet – assuming the vacation spot has a very strong WiFi network, of course.
As time goes on, these cloud gaming services will become more polished and better at delivering games over the internet, while connection speeds (both over Wi-Fi and mobile networks) will inevitably improve as well.
Before long, searching for a game and launching it directly from the Google results page can become very common indeed.