Google hasn’t given up on its video game streaming service. In a blog post, the company announced a slew of small but welcome features that are rolling out now to Stadia. The biggest addition is messaging — that’s right, simple text-based messages — with friends and party members. The feature started rolling out last week, but now it’s available in every region that Stadia currently supports. If you’re using the Stadia controller or any other gamepad, you should also be able to access predictive ‘smart replies.’
Google has made it easier to share your best gaming moments, too. If you record a video clip, for instance, it will now be captured with anything you were barking into a microphone. Mobile and browser-based users can also share their screenshots and clips with a public link, just like Google Photos.
Stadia profile pages are also getting some basic “enhancements,” such as a list of the games you own, the people on your friends list, and something called “presence.” “We’ve also added shortcuts that will allow you to take quick player actions, such as inviting other players to your party,” Google explained in a blog post. Finally, the Stadia team has highlighted the already-announced Family Sharing option, which lets multiple people share the same pool of games they’ve bought or claimed via Stadia Pro.
Google has released countless Stadia updates over the last 12 months. These include achievements, 4K streaming on the web, some basic Google Assistant functionality, streaming over 4G and 5G, and the ability to plug some USB-C headphones into the Stadia controller. The latest upgrades should make the platform feel a little more complete. It’s hard to shake the feeling, though, that they should have been implemented before release, rather than almost a year down the line. Oh well, at least they’re here now.