Hal Hodson’s well-written piece titled Why Google’s Ingress game is a data gold mine really opened my eyes to many things given that I am not an online gamer. I already have a sedentary job and sitting on my ass at home too could not be very good for my health.
Hodson, writing for New Scientist, introduced me to the term augmented reality(AR) which can not help but tickle the interests of a word-smith. AR appears to tie smart phones to real world objects by annotating them with layers of descriptions about these objects. As combatants play Ingress they become the source of the information in the description of the real world objects that are around them when they are playing the game. So, I guess if one mouses over say, an NFL stadium, unique camera angles or dark areas where horny teens and adults can cop a feel, or any other user specific content may be attached to the NFL stadium. This type of information is certainly “more real” and interesting/helpful than the typical Webmaster sanitized website version of the NFL stadium. I may be completely wrong about all this since I have never played an online game in my life. I still enjoy reading a physical book and being somewhat disconnected from all the technology and social media.
I can just hear the extreme ACLU type saying “I would never play that game since Google will be selling/giving all the data gleaned from Ingress to the government.” Blair MacIntyre conjectures/asserts that Ingress will help improve Google Search results. Hodson points out that Ingress is a hybrid of a map and and a true Augmented Reality blurring the distinction between physical and virtual reality.
BTW, the whole notion of “dark areas” where you can do private stuff “in public” is rapidly disappearing due to inexpensive surveillance systems available to all of us.