Does Google ‘get’ gaming?
There has been quite a buzz about Google’s new augmented reality game “Ingress” [Google Play] which incidentally is a spin-off of the Android app “Field Trip” [Google Play] which are both from the Niantic Labs group over at Google.
If you’re not familiar with Field Trip, it’s essentially a location aware discovery app that utilizes your phone’s GPS and notifies you of nearby points of interest that are based on preferences you set within the app and populates those categories from different feeds.
Google doesn’t have a history of releasing successful games nor has anyone thought of the search giant as a game publisher. They however have a successful history with location based applications such as Google Maps and Google Local.
So does Google ‘get’ gaming or is it really that they get gamification?
Based on the available information about Ingress, the fact that it was spawned from Niantic Labs and a recent update to the Field Trip app that allows you to add a feed from the “Niantic Data Repository” under the Outdoor Art category.
(Screen capture from my Galaxy Nexus of the Outdoor Art category in Field Trip featuring the new feed from the Niantic Data Repository.)
I’m of the opinion that Google may have discovered a way to create a data collecting horde of users whom will not only go forth and populate a database with location based information, but will actually compete in doing so.
Personally, I think this is a brilliant idea both from a user standpoint but from a business standpoint as well. Not only will it cause people to get outside and exploring but it will also provide points of interest for Field Trip users that may have otherwise have never appeared on any POI map.
From the business standpoint, Google doesn’t have to try and give people monetary incentives to take photos and provide geographical locations as they once tried back in 2007 to have users take photos inside of businesses and gather additional business info such as operating hours and the ilk.
As of this writing, I have not received an invite to Ingress yet so I can’t comment on the actual game play itself, but as a Geocacher this type of game would be right up my alley. Let’s just hope after all the attention and viral buzz that Ingress can live up to the hype.
Is 2012 Year of the Android?
Android has long been treated as the red headed step-child of the mobile device world.
Those of us who have been using Android from the very beginning are used to having to wait for some new app that was just released for iOS, sometimes waiting months only to receive a half-baked, sometimes half-assed attempt at an Android app and be completely frustrated and disappointed over developers treating Android as an after thought.
This may be in part that iOS has enjoyed a massive lead in market share up until recently and developers looking to monetize are obviously going to focus efforts on the largest user base.
According to Gartner, Android’s share of the worldwide smartphone market is more than double what it was a year ago and it seems developers are finally starting to take note.
New data from independent research firm Ovum indicates that Android looks set to replace Apple’s iOS in terms of importance to developers within the next 12 months.
Does this mean as Android users we’ll finally get first crack at new apps before iOS? At the very least we can hope that major brands will make an effort to release an app on both platforms simultaneously and that independent developers who maybe can’t afford to take such a risk will see the benefit and will follow suit.