Google Allows Some People To Launch Cloud Games Directly From Search Results

Friction is the mind killer when it comes to cloud gaming. You can’t just click on a game trailer to instantly play a game quite yet. But this week, Google appears to be rolling out a feature that could reduce that friction: if you simply search for the name of a game in Google Search, you might be presented with a “Play” button that can instantly launch the title.

The Nerf ReportBryant Chappel seems to be the one who who noticed the change, and he quickly discovered that it wasn’t limited to Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service either. He says it works with Amazon Luna, Xbox cloud gamingand Nvidia GeForce Now, too.

There’s still some friction – you need to be logged into an account associated with these cloud gaming services, otherwise you’ll just get a sign-up page, and there may still be prompts in between. Also, it doesn’t seem to work with all games.


But with Stadia and Xbox Cloud Gaming, at least a single click from a Google search result will get you as far as you’ll get by navigating to your favorite cloud gaming service’s website, choosing your title and pressing the play button that you will find there.

search results cloud gaming

I forgot to disable dark mode for these screenshots, sorry.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister/The Verge

It’s unclear when or if Google will fully roll out this feature. We first saw it live this afternoon, but all of a sudden it disappeared and no longer appears in our search results. Then it came back for me, but only for my Google Workspace account, which is not associated with any cloud gaming service and cannot play Google Stadia at all. Chappel confirms to The rod that he still sees it operating from his home in Austin, Texas. 9to5Google saw it too.

I guess Google is running an A/B test with this feature to see how people react. Or maybe it jumped the gun, much like GeForce Now in 2020, by rolling it out without permission from game studios.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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