Google Is Helping A 21-Year-Old Develop A Social Gaming Startup Called 'Arcade'


Google is reportedly working on the development of a social gaming app called Arcade. It could launch as early as summer 2018 if the technology is ready by then.

Who Is Michael Sayman?

Michael Sayman, 21, is the founder and co-owner of Arcade. He began working at Alphabet Inc.'s Google in August 2017. Sayman is the youngest product manager in the company.

He began working as an intern at Facebook at age 17. As a junior in high school, Sayman impressed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with the creation of a social picture snapping and guessing game called 4 Snaps.

At age 19, Sayman created an app for Facebook called Lifestage, which transformed profiles into videos. The app was released in 2016 and it was created to compete against Snapchat.

"What if I figured out a way to take Facebook from 2004 and bring it to 2016? What if every field in your profile was a full video?" Sayman said.

In 2017, Facebook shut down Lifestage and Sayman left the company.

What Is Area 120?

Sayman is developing Arcade as part of Google's Area 120, which is a division where employees can work on internal startups. Many Google workers are encouraged to devote up to 20 percent of their time to passion projects in Area 120.

At Area 120, Google employees join the experimental program to receive help in an entrepreneurial environment. Google could develop the projects in Area 120 into the larger company. In addition, the startups in Area 120 could shut down. Other tech companies, such as Microsoft, offer similar programs for workers.

One Google project that originated in Area 120 was Advr, which is a cube-like ad format for virtual reality video.

Within Area 120, Google provided Sayman with a budget for Arcade. He will reportedly use the budget for design and hiring of staff.

How Will The Social Gaming App Function?

Since Arcade is still in the early phases of development, not much is known about it.

"It's a very early experiment, so there aren't many details to share right now," a Google spokesman said.

A report from Bloomberg indicated that Arcade will incorporate elements of a trivia game, offer mobile gaming with friends, and allow users to create accounts with their phone numbers. 

This is not the first time that Google has experimented with social gaming. Pokémon GO studio Niantic Labs was an internal startup at Google before branching off.

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