Last week, the project was unveiled as an Augmented Reality (AR) game called Ingress, that currently only works on Android devices.
To support the mystique, the game remains invitation only and the those invites are as rare as rocking horse poo.
There’s plenty of demand for them too. I had an invited so posted it to twitter to see if any of my followers wanted one. I received half a dozen replies from complete strangers in minutes.
It’s pretty slick when you get going and the sound effects are pretty impressive. The tutorial takes a fair amount of time and I personally found the whole thing about portals, resonators, links and fields a little confusing for a while.
Now I’m through the intro I’m at a little loss since I don’t live in a built up area and there are no portals nearby. So, there are two things to do:
1. Submit a portal; as per the instructions here
2. Wait until I’m in London next and see if I can explore this further.
So what’s this all about?
While I’m sure the game is a great way to demonstrate Google Maps, while making an android device feel exclusive. The main reason must be to support the growth of the Field Trip app, also developed by Niantic Labs @ Google.
The Field Trip app provides AR overlays onto real world monuments and is currently only available in the US. It’s a great idea, but the Niantic team needs a way to identify relevant monuments and prioritise their importance. To that end it feels like Ingress if a great way of gamifying a crowd-sourced project to fuel Field Trip.
What do you think? Am I missing the bigger picture here? Is there really a new energy source out there we must contain