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What just happened? In what is another sign that Google is absolutely not giving up on Stadia, the company appears to be running tests in which various cloud gaming services are integrated into its search results. And it's not just Stadia games that are involved; other services, including Xbox Cloud Gaming, Nvidia GeForce Now, and Amazon Luna, also appear to be part of the feature.
The Nerf Report's Bryant Chappel noticed the new option in Google's search results and demonstrated how it works in a tweet. Simply type in the name of a game in Google's search bar—in this case, he uses the excellent Control Ultimate Edition—and the streaming services where it's available appear in the sidebar with a Play button next to them. Click on this, and you're taken directly to the game as it launches.
It looks like the Google search engine has a new update for cloud gaming platforms!!!— Bryant Chappel (@BryantChappel) August 11, 2022
When searching for a game players can now launch a game directly from the search results utilizing @GoogleStadia. pic.twitter.com/xblOsBpF6O
Chappel noted in a follow-up Tweet that the feature covers Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming service, too. Amazon Luna and the popular Nvidia GeForce Now are also integrated into the search results.
Add Xbox Cloud Gaming to the list too! pic.twitter.com/LgXgSpe6wt— Bryant Chappel (@BryantChappel) August 11, 2022
You will, of course, need to have a subscription to these services to take advantage of Google's change, and it won't be as seamless if you're not already signed in to them—you'll just be taken straight to the log-in page.
Not everyone is seeing these options on the search results page, so it could be an A/B test Google is performing to gauge interest in the feature.
Google will certainly be looking for more ways to boost Stadia's popularity. Earlier this month, there was a slew of reports claiming the troubled streaming service would be shutting down. While the company confirmed this was inaccurate (it even joked about the rumor), it's easy to understand why people found it so easy to believe.
Stadia has been far from the gaming PC/console killer Google initially suggested, having endured missing features, performance issues, and consumer apathy. Closing down its first-party Stadia game studio and the departure of product head John Justice were ominous signs, but it seems Google isn't ready to let Stadia die off, at least not yet.