Mark DeLoura, the videogame guru Google hired and named "developer advocate," left the Mountain View, Calif. technology company last week after four short months in the abstract post. It was not a "perfect fit for me," he explained in a blog post; though he was excited by the idea of running applications in a browser, for example, or Chrome Native Client, the ability to open the Web so developers can use languages other than HTML/JS and ActionScript, as the Web moves past "markup languages wrapped around test and toward a fully interactive platform for applications."
Games aren't getting any less expensive to make, especially for independent developers, according to DeLoura. Companies could reduce costs through cloud computing. He thinks Microsoft remains closest to running games in the cloud with XNA and Silverlight, which operate across multiple platforms; and Apple's SDKs works across iPhone, iPad and Mac OSX. Google continues to move closer with Android NDK and Chrome Native Client.
Google, during the past few months, invested in Zynga, a social game maker, and Jambool, which builds applications and virtual goods and currency. It tested the ability to build and deliver games in the browser earlier this year when testing a mini version of the game. And, reportedly, Google put VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra in charge of social.
While Google may have lost a videogame veteran in DeLoura, it hasn't put games and social on the back burner. The company gained social expertise last week by acquiring the startup Angstro, based in Palo Alto, Calif. The social apps company developed ways to find photos on Facebook, as well as applications that link caller identification with LinkedIn profiles and social address books.
Rather than launching a formal application, recent events could suggest Google's social network -- Google Me -- really ties together the Web as THE social network. What if Google Search became the social network rather than a portal on the Web like Facebook or Twitter. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has been quoted by analysts as wanting to take full advantage of the technologies by tying them together.
We might have seen the beginning through Google's one log-in feature to a variety of applications, but with so many facets of the company, I wonder if the businesses units within a company the size of Google could really work together to literally connect all apps and pieces on the Web. Smoothing feathers of social influencers like Los Angeles-based KFI TWiT Radio Personality Leo Laporte, who this weekend tweeted on Twitter he would turn off Google Buzz because of two "massive bugs" in one week, could become the search engine's biggest challenge.