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We've heard very little out of Google internal team Niantic Labs. Before today, their sole public presence was Field Trip, a mash up of Google Now and various hyperlocal points of interest. The team'' latest creation, Ingress, defies description: it's a virtual reality game in which players are tasked with going to real-world locations to harness a fictional energy source. Also there are two "teams" and every player in the world is one one or the other. Think Alliance versus Horde.

The premise seems pretty nebulous at the moment. A new source of energy has been discovered, and it's got the potential to control people's thoughts. One side seeks to embrace it, the other to defend humanity as it currently exists. Neither is precisely good or bad, but they are opposed. Players travel to locations that are sources of energy - mostly landmarks and public art, by the looks of things - and collect it. Various power-ups and modifiers exist, and working with teams is more effective than working alone. Hints are apparently dolled out on the project website at www.Ingress.com. At this point, it's got a definite Deus Ex vibe.

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We'd tell you more about Ingress, but it's in closed beta, and we don't have any more access than the average Joe. (You can download the Android app on any Android device 2.3 and up, but you'll need an activation code to play.)  The game is optimized for smartphones, not tablets, just like Field Trip. It looks interesting, at least if you're in an urban area and tend to wander around a bit. We'll have more detailed information if we ever get to swallow the red pill.


Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • jaduncan

    Hord should be changed to read Horde, before you are beseiged by angry orcs. ;)

    • Jeremiah Rice

      Thanks. I've played all of two hour of WoW - I think I've spent more time listening to my friends talk about their Night Elf Mohawks.

  • Elias

    Interesting. Even more if this manages to become a real fever among users.

  • skeeterfood

    Seems like a convenient way to route people near/to businesses who buy Google advertising.

    • dan

      exactly, more u pay bigger energy source or whateva at your business location,,, or a QR code on your local sushi place bill perhaps? sounds like endles posibilities to exploit the avarage Joe,,, as long as they keep it interesting for him

      • Chris M.

        I've only been playing a few hours now, but I have seen no involvement with businesses. I live in the city, and most of the places I have been are more isolated park and historical areas.

  • Brady Rainey

    One step closer to the world of Daemon.


    • http://www.facebook.com/HashWorks Justin Kromlinger

      Awesome idea.
      I'm looking forward to Google Glass :D

    • Jeremiah Rice

      Big fan of this, and the sequel.

    • Cody Dean

      Just finished Daemon and I am starting Freedom TM and I must say, I welcome our digital Overlord.

  • Samuel Hart

    Okay, so I think this MIGHT be very interesting. Honestly the concept sounds pretty damned good, but I've played AR games before and they've let me down..... The devil is in the implementation, and I'll be anxikously waiting to see if Google can pull it off! I really hope they do!

  • Aussie

    This app is incompatible with all of your devices.
    Galaxy Nexus
    This item cannot be installed in your device's country.


    • Ben

      Just Google "Ingress apk" and set the date for the past 24 hours and sideload the app.
      I would extract the app and uploaded just for you but you can't trust anybody these day right? =)

    • Povilas Galčius

      Strange. Most of region restricted apps don't let me to install them. But I have installed this. But I need access key to use it after selected google account..

  • Ben

    This looks like it can become big time game if Google plays out this one good.
    Too bad i'm still waiting for the invitation >.<

  • Mei

    "Ingress requires an invitation to play."

  • Hilmy

    Im pretty sure you need to finish the riddle on http://www.nianticproject.com/ to get an invite code for that game. But since this cant be finished before noverber 30 you cant get a code yet. But have a look at that page. Looks prety interesting.

  • dsass600


  • Ben Baranovsky

    That's pretty cool. Seems like a fun game to play with Glass.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Francesco-Ferrazzino/100001467532833 Francesco Ferrazzino

    Well, this is a great project and i’m so happy it’s made in google. We are working so far on a similar concept, but instead of map we are using a contextual augmented reality solution, for a massive multiplayer real life first person shooter wich alterate the reality: if you want to be in the list of beta tester check http://uwar.co/
    by the way using a game for introducing google glasses contextual capabilities is a great marketing move.

    • qu4ttro

      interesting but it appears from your site that people have to wear a qr code?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Francesco-Ferrazzino/100001467532833 Francesco Ferrazzino

        We have found a simple & cheap and wearable solution but the result of wearing that qr code are incredible!

  • Jan Badertscher

    We collect information from the game, try to get beta invites and
    disclose all passwords and codes inside the game:

  • mr C

    Turf shits on this shitty game. http://turfgame.com/

  • Chris M.

    Just got my invite today!!! Only spent several hours so far, but it is fun! Definitely sucks you in with the exploring and teamwork aspects. Good walkthrough at IngressPortal.com if you get stuck or want to read up while you wait for your invite.
    Down with the enlightened, resistance for the win! Let's hope the IOS version becomes available sooner than later!

  • http://twitter.com/V6ser Rafd08 ☫

    Seems funny really :D

  • John Wu

    Happy Thanksgiving:

    INGRESS Code: 8773-HDWW-K2!FF

  • Craig Hills
  • http://www.new1000ad.com/ Jack Jones

    That is very nice.

  • Lauren

    This looks to me like an attempt by Google to crowd-source the refinement of their location data.