When Google launched its new worldwide alternative reality game earlier this month, the web lit up with widespread questions. The game, called Ingress, allows users to move through the physical world with their Android devices, collecting pockets of energy in various locations that they can then use to complete virtual quests. It was an interesting idea, but on the surface appeared to not make any significant contributions to the company’s bottom line. Why would Google, which has $217.59 billion market cap, allocate time and resources to a free Android game?
Technology Review called it “augmented reality’s first killer app.” AllThingsD reported that because the game incorporates real stores and businesses into its plotline, it’s a natural next-level venue for advertisers–Zipcar, Jamba Juice and Chrome apparel have already all signs on to host ads on Ingress.
The Future Will See You Now
It’s well-known that all Googlers are brainiacs, but the Google X team represents the cream of the crop: some of the most elite programmers and thinkers in the company are handpicked for Google X, which is tasked with some of the most innovative projects Google outputs. The most recent manifestation of Google X’s collective brilliance? Project Glass, Google’s attempt at augmented reality glasses.
Obvious Engine’s augmented reality technology works without those funny bar codes [The Verge]
Silicon Valley startup Nicira, which raised $50 million last year, opened to the public today and announces impressive customer list including AT&T, Fidelity and eBay [Business Insider]
Ten-thousand tweets per second in the final three minutes of the Super Bowl [TechCrunch]
Sony and Panasonic expect heavy losses [Business Week]
Surprise, surprise, Facebook still has deleted photos on its servers after three years [Ars Technica]
Our City Since
For many of us, the Manhattan skyline is marked as much by absence as presence. Hanging out on his rooftop on Hope Street in Greenpoint, Brian August was trying to explain to a friend the void left behind, both in the mind and to the eye, by the loss of the Twin Towers.
There was some copper tubing lying around from an art project and Mr. August mocked up a simple sculpture to show a friend how the towers had appeared from that rooftop nine summers earlier. The finished product, a stark outline of the towers scaled to fit the skyline, struck Mr. August with a deep emotion.
“This really started ten years ago,” said Mr. August, a lifelong New Yorker. “I started thinking to to myself, how many people go about their routines in New York, and they get to a certain place where they always used to stop and look at the towers. What if you could give everyone this experience, and a way to share it with others.”
The result is 110 Stories, a mobile app Mr. August created for iPhone, and soon Android. Its purpose is simple, said Mr. August: orient, augment, comment.