By the Blouin News Technology staff

Google gets into gaming

by in Personal Tech.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 15:  Attendees visit the Android booth during the Google I/O developers conference at the Moscone Center on May 15, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Thousands are expected to attend the 2013 Google I/O developers conference that runs through May 17. At the close of the markets today Google shares were at all-time record high at $916 a share, up 3.3 percent.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Getty Images/Justin Sullivan

When speaking of wearable technology, Google Glass is what comes to mind for many consumers. It is a much-hyped product — not yet available to the layman — that has become the face of wearable technology. But Google has launched other initiatives to expand its range of wearable tech products as it moves beyond the smartphone and tablet realm.

Rumors of a smart wristwatch have been swirling for months, and have solidified further as reports emerge of Google’s development on the heels of Apple’s. Apple recently revealed at its Worldwide Developers Conference that it is devoting resources to wearable technology in the coming years. CEO Tim Cook’s statement about the potential for the market as “profound” fueled discussions of an iWatch. Google now makes its move in this arena as it plans for a watch running on Android software. But it combines its wearable product with an additionally powerful device: a gaming console.

A game machine running Android is the sign that Google is moving beyond the communications technology realm — news that happens to coincide this week with Ouya’s release of its 3-inch gaming console, also based on Android. Social gaming is a growing trend and requires internet access – something Google knows a little bit about. And the global popularity of Google’s Android operating system on mobile devices could appeal to a broad audience of video gamers. Not to mention challenging Microsoft, whose continuous disappointments in both software and hardware (ahem, Surface tablet) have investors and consumers questioning its direction. While Microsoft’s June 10 reveal of its latest Xbox gaming console was much-anticipated, and will likely be a success, to have one of the biggest brands in tech entering its market should have the company worried.

While no dates have surfaced for the release of either of these devices, they speak to Google’s enormous and growing breadth of product development. (As if it weren’t content to dominate global internet usage.) No doubt it is keeping stiffly competitive with Apple, and is now encroaching on Microsoft in another category of device manufacturing. It appears as though Google aims to stay in both the established world of gaming and the blooming one of wearable tech.