Awesome news guys, Google Launches Ingress, a Worldwide Mobile Alternate Reality Game, and we can all join in with our smartphones. With your phone in hand “you’re like a rat in a maze on the phone” as Hanek said to allthigsD, but when you get home to your computer you can have a larger view of the game map. The game itself involves a lot of physical activity, as players have to get out and walk to play it (though driving isn't forbidden). Meanwhile your phone sends GPS data back to Google.. tick... tick... tick. "Turn right on Bedford street... Left on Christopher street...." Oh man. You are a rat in a maze, collecting walking directions for Google. Have fun.
But Hanke contended that the game will be good for Google’s business from the beginning. That’s because of advertising. Ingress incorporates real physical stores and products in the game, and has brokered relationships with Hint Water, Zipcar, Jamba Juice and Chrome apparel and messenger bags.
And eventually, Google plans to make these real-world game tools available as a platform for developers to make their own.
Ooh, it's an advertising platform too! Of course, since Google is the largest advertising company in the world by now.
I'm sure it's a fun symbiosis, and it'll work the same way that ReCaptcha's worked helping to digitize books, more data for Google. You get something to use, and they gather a whole lot of data off your casual playing. They've even asked you to help fill out the playing field by locating and photographing portals in the game. And later we can probably get some great walking directions from Google maps. I hope this Google vs Humans relationship stays commensal but some say it's already parasitic.
* full disclosure - the use of "great" in the headline is a wild guess, I have not played the game