You are here

The Hidden Side of Ingress

Google’s Niantic labs has unveiled their new augmented reality game: Ingress. By using Android smartphone technology, Ingress transforms the world you know into a land of mystery, intrigue, and competition.

“A mysterious energy has been unearthed by a team of scientists in Europe. The origin and purpose of this force is unknown, but some researchers believe it is influencing the way we think. We must control it or it will control us... Move through the real world using your Android device and the Ingress app to discover and tap sources of this mysterious energy. Acquire objects to aid in your quest, deploy tech to capture territory, and ally with other players to advance the cause of the Enlightened or the Resistance.” -Google Play description. 

 

This game has just recently been released for closed beta testing and has taken social networks by storm. From the limited information provided, it’s clear that walking through the real world and taking pictures of important landmarks is a core gameplay mechanic. The game, like most Google products, is absolutely free to use. So why did they build it in the first place?

The answer: big data. Google has mastered data collection and analysis. They have a history of providing great new tools and toys, and using those tools to gather data later used to improve core products.

Consider GOOG-411, Google’s free automated directory enquiries service. Back when it first came out, people wondered why Google built the thing. They didn’t make any money off of it and nobody knew how they would ever be able to. What was the point? Again, it was data. By collecting huge numbers of enquiries from a wide range of people, Google was able to build a database of accents and cadences that they later used to perfect their voice recognition technology for Android.

Now consider the game, and you will have a pretty clear idea of the purpose behind it. In order to play, you walk from place to place with Ingress running on your GPS enabled smartphone, You take geo-tagged pictures using the app, and all the while the data is collected and sent to Google’s server where gameplay takes place.

Through this process, Google is collecting vast amounts of pedestrian data, average walking speed, routes taken, pictures, and even Wi-Fi hotspots available.

Google Maps currently does not cover pedestrian walking paths well, and with Nokia’s recently announced pedestrian turn-by-turn directions, Google will probably use the data from Ingress to create the best pedestrian maps available.

So far, Ingress is getting rave reviews from users. People love the game as it helps them experience their cities in a whole new way. Even when users are made aware of the purpose of their playing, they’re still loving the experience.

“Very fun to play.  I don't mind allowing them to gather data, with the idea that I will need to use the service that will be developed from it.”

This is a stark difference from government data practices that tend to infurate us. 

With what’s shaping up to be a stellar and truly unique gameplay experience, Ingress is off to a great start. Regardless of where it goes from here, it’s clear that Google is building an unrivaled pedestrian traffic dataset, one that will likely make Google Maps pedestrian directions by far the best available.

If you’re interested in learning more about how this type of data mining is done, we just finished a book on this very topic that we're offering you for free! Data Science Secrets explores in greater detail the process's that enable companies to do this and other amazing things with their data. Free for for a limited time, get your copy today by signing up below:


 

 

 

Jeremy

 

Data Stories

How to increase sales by looking at your customer data

Are you a B2C company interested in increasing sales? If you have some form of customer data, you may be in luck.

IBM's Watson and the future of Healthcare Analytics

What would it be like to have a doctor who’s always up on the latest research and has learned about treatments from over 1.5 million previous cases? It would look alot like Watson, IBM’s Jeopardy! playing supercomputer that’s getting ready to roll out with an all new look and a Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center education in oncology.

How Facebook's Graph Search will affect Google, Technology, and Privacy

What has been both feared and expected is finally on its way: Facebook is building a better search; they're opening their vast stores of user data and giving us the ability to discover what’s inside. Lars Rasmussen, the mind that brought us Google Maps, is now hard at work creating Facebook’s new Graph Search, and from the looks of it, it’s going to put unprecedented power in the hands of its users.

How Big Data and Analytics will Change Society.

The mission statement of most police departments includes something like this, “our goal is to increase public safety, prevent crime, and protect human life.” With sufficient records of criminal behavior and analytics tools like Crimespotting, Cities can have the ability to predict when and where crimes are likely to take place and dispatch accordingly.

The Big Data Revolution

Want to learn more about how big data is changing business and how you can take advantage? Pick up our latest book: The Big Data Revolution.

"With everyone talking about Big Data and Data Science, its tough to know whom to listen to and how to make sense of it all. This book cuts through the noise and presents the reader with a roadmap for success. Whether you've been in this space for a while or are just coming up to speed, Secrets of the Big Data Revolution is a must read."
-Chris Crosby, CEO of Inflection Point Global


Trend Watch

What Higher Education Teaches us about Data-Driven Customer Retention

Rio Salado Community College is currently optimizing their student retention through focused testing and they are finding some truly telling results. We can learn a lot about customer retention and segmenting by studying what they've done.

The Growing Collaborative Consumption Market

Remember the Big Data mantra? how Big Data will enable us to better understand everything, reduce waste, and improve efficiency? Well honestly, without concrete examples it fades into the mass of voices shouting about how great the world is going to be. So lets take a moment to talk about collaborative consumption and it’s implications.

Andreas Weigend on the Future of Social Data

Dr. Weigend, Stanford Professor and former Chief Data Scientist at Amazon, tells us about social data and it's implications.

Big Data and Government Transparency

A wealth of government data is available to us today on .gov sites and private sites across the web. If we analyzed this data properly, we could build a rich understanding of how our government works and how it could be improved. But as the big data challenge dictates, the chokepoint is consumption.

Commentary

Gartner splits the 2014 Business Intelligence Magic Quadrant in two.

In an interesting turn, Gartner decided this year to split the annual Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.

New Gartner Magic Quadrant: Advanced Analytics Platforms

The big story this year is how Gartner split the Business

How RoboCharm is using data to optimize customer interactions

Let’s face it, the ultimate goal for any use of data is to drive profits, and more often than not that comes back to learning how to enga