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Google launches Ingress, a paranoia-inducing global augmented reality game [video]

Published Nov 15th, 2012 11:59PM EST

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Are you the sort of person who walks down the street and thinks everyone you pass might be out to secretly control your mind? If so, Google (GOOG) has a game for you! AllThingsD reports that Google has just taken the wraps off Ingress, a new game that lets players use their smartphones as portals to an alternate reality where ordinary objects take on a supernatural significance. The game’s premise, according to its official Google Play page, is that “a mysterious energy has been unearthed by a team of scientists in Europe” who “believe it is influencing the way we think.” Players can choose to either embrace this energy as a powerful new tool or to resist it and become part of a rebellion.

“The concept is something like World of Warcraft, where everyone in world is playing the same game,” John Hanke, who heads up Google’s Niantic Labs group, told AllThingsD. Hanke went on to say that playing the game feels like being “a rat in a maze on the phone” and added that his team was heavily inspired by Lost creator J.J. Abrams. But don’t worry — unlike with Lost, Hanke promises that Ingress will have a satisfying payoff at the end.

“We don’t want to leave people in [a] ‘Lost’ situation where they get into fiction of world but then it never ends,” he told AllThingsD.

A video trailer for Ingress is posted below.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.