Google's Niantic Labs is perhaps best known as the developer of the popular augmented reality game Ingress (it also makes the exploration app Field Trip). In the wake of the Alphabet announcement, Niantic is leaving Google behind, but not in the way you think. Google is spinning off the developer completely, turning it into an independent company.
But, according to a report from The Information, Google isn't content to just have a cult hit of a game on its hands. Google has partnered with Sean Daniel Co. to make a television show based on the game, with producers "in talks with candidates to serve as its showrunner." This information comes from "two people who have been involved in the discussions."
Despite this somewhat surprising rumor, The Info is sure to note that this "doesn't appear to reflect a broader move into film or TV production by Google," and that Google "isn't particularly interested in cashing in on Ingress' worldwide audience, instead viewing the TV show as a deeper extension into the game's hybrid reality-fictional world and a way to provide a more intimate connection with its players."
Indeed, the hybrid nature of the game is one of the facets that propelled it to popularity as users choose sides and vie for portals at real-world physical locations, sometimes cooperating across factions to produce "faction art" like this dragon in Norwich.
Niantic Labs is mostly known for the game Ingress, and now the Google internal startup has announced its next project. The upcoming Endgame: Proving Ground is another immersive alternative reality experience, but this time it's part of a larger fictional world. This game will take place in the Endgame universe created with the help of author James Frey.
Field Trip is one of Google's less-known official apps (from the same people who work on Ingress), and appropriately, one of the most unique. The urban exploration app gets its 2.0 update today, bringing the user interface in line with Material Design standards introduced with Android 5.0. As nice as it is to see Google keeping its apps fresh, I have to say that the redesign takes something away in this case. Field Trip's warm texture backgrounds and custom icons were visually interesting and distinctive - the new version just looks sterile.
New above, old below
The app has jumped from version 1.22 all the way to 2.05.
Google's Niantic Labs operates as a semi-autonomous company within Google that works on projects like Ingress and the travel app Field Trip. Ingress gets most of the attention, but now Field Trip might become a bigger part of all Android users' lives. Data from Field Trip is about to be integrated with Google Now to make sure you know what cool stuff is around when you're away from home.
If you've been paying attention to the news cycle lately, you've probably heard that Google—by way of the obscure "Niantic Labs"—released a game of some kind. You saw a trailer that depicted people discovering hidden energy fields within statues, landmarks, and artistic sculptures. You had no idea what was going on. You signed up for an invite anyway, because like any other weird Google product, you want in regardless of what it is. Well, I got my invite a couple days ago, and I'm happy to tell you, it's absolutely worth it.
To say that Ingress is amazing would be an understatement.
Hi. Welcome to the future. Mountain View, California, 2012. I'm telling you it's great here. You've got a location-aware, always-connected supercomputer in your pocket. What good is it, though, if you're only ever using it to check what's going on in Facebook land? Enter Field Trip, the latest app to be released by Google (via the obscure Niantic Labs), which offers you information about all the things around you, including trivia, facts about local monuments, restaurant reviews, and more.
The coolest thing about this app is that you don't need to pull it up to use it. Very similar to Google Now's notifications, Field Trip won't wait to tell you about something it thinks you might want to read up on in the area.