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Ingress: Google’s Strange New Game

November 17, 2012
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Source: Cryptogon

John Hanke is the head of Niantic Labs, the Google unit that created Ingress, a new global alternate reality game.

Let’s quickly look at some of what Hanke was up to before he worked at Google.

After graduation from the University of Texas at Austin, Hanke, “Worked in foreign affairs for the US Government in Washington, DC and Southeast Asia.” Nice and vague. *wink* *wink*

Hanke went on to become the CEO of Keyhole, Inc., a company that specialized in geospatial data visualization and had multiple connections to the black world. Keyhole, Inc. received financial backing from the CIA (via In-Q-Tel). Google acquired Keyhole, Inc. and the associated technologies became Google Earth, Google Maps, and other Google services.

This is relatively bland so far, I know, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide if any of the following is strange, given Hanke’s long association with the U.S. Government.

It might be helpful to keep Secrets in Plain Sight in mind as you wade into this one.

In Ingress, Google wants people to be physically present at the locations that are in the game to confront, “A mysterious energy,” and to, “Choose a side.”

“The Enlightened” seek to embrace the power that this energy may bestow upon us.

“The Resistance” struggle to defend, and protect what’s left of our humanity.

Fabian Bustamante, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the McCormick School of Engineering, has looked at using the type of technology used in Ingress for what he calls, “Soft control.”

He stated, “We can ‘soft control’ users with gaming or social network incentives to drive them where we want them.”

What’s going on here?

Rather than trying to guess about what might be happening here, I’m going to have to simply bask in the weirdness of this one for a while.

Via: IGN:

This world around you is not what it seems. Our future is at stake, and you must choose a side.

A mysterious energy has been unearthed by a team of scientists in Europe. The origin and purpose of this force is unknown, but some researchers believe it is influencing the way we think. We must control it or it will control us.

“The Enlightened” seek to embrace the power that this energy may bestow upon us.

“The Resistance” struggle to defend, and protect what’s left of our humanity.

Install Ingress and transform your world.

Google’s top-secret Niantic Project has been picking up plenty of buzz lately around all the usual tech blogs. Since November 1st a Google-hosted investigation board has been stoking these fires with cryptic videos featuring ominous voiceovers that drop phrases like “There’s more to the world than you can see.” A poster featuring encoded text superimposed over photos taken near CERN is another early post on this “Sphere of Weirdness.”

An independent wiki has even been set up to help sort out the signal from the noise. Reddit has also gotten in on the act.

In a reveal sure to disappoint some (while alternately thrilling mobile gamers), Google has revealed that Project Niantic is in fact tied to the launch of a new location-based mobile game called Ingress, developed by Google itself.

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