Google is announcing a slew of new features for Play Games today, and the coolest might actually be a new type of ad. It might not sound particularly exciting — Google has given the new ad format the drab title "search trial run ads" — but the feature now makes it possible to try out games immediately after searching for them. You simply search for a game using Google, then tap the "try now" button that appears in the results, and you can play a 10 minute demo of the game without installing anything. (Google launched a similar, though much more limited type of ad demo back in December.) The new search ads are expected to start popping up on Android "in the next few weeks."
In an attempt at courting inventive smaller developers, Google is also introducing a new section of the Play store that it's calling "indie corner." Essentially, it's a regularly updated collection of the best indie games on the platform, as curated by Google. According to Ben Frenkel, product manager on Play Games, while the main criteria for inclusion is the quality of the game — "Number one, it has to be a good game," he says — Google is also looking to highlight titles that utilize different Play features, like leaderboards or achievements. "We want them all to be case studies for what you can do on the platform," Frenkel says of the games that will be included.
The majority of the announcements from Google today are developer-focused; the news comes directly from the company's "developer day" event at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. But several, like the new search ads, have implications for players. Among these is a new API that lets developers add both video recording and live streaming functionality to any game. Those videos, both recorded and streamed, can then be broadcast on YouTube using what Google says is "a few simple steps." The API will be available some time in the next few months.