Google asks for donations through charity 'portals' in 'Ingress'

Google's augmented reality exploration game, Ingress, has had a pretty eventful 2014, including an iOS release back in July and the addition of user-created missions a few months later. Now, developer Niantic Labs is closing out the year by getting in the holiday spirit. In a recent blog post, the Ingress team announced its #MissionsForGood campaign, aiming to entice players on both sides of the augmented reality conflict to give back to their respective communities during the holidays. Using the recently added user-created missions feature, verified agents (level 8 and higher) can designate portals at or near local charities and add the #MissionsForGood hashtag in mission titles. The team also added a unique medal for the campaign.

Niantic Labs is also asking players to donate to while they're out searching for portals -- whether it's food, clothing or other essentials. While the initiative was announced just yesterday, players are already responding. A quick search of the #MissionsForGood hashtag on Google+ shows folks are busily spreading the news and agents have reportedly helped out a Toys for Tots in El Cajon, California. If you haven't checked out Ingress in a while, or if you've been on the fence about a game that asks you to venture out into the real world, this latest effort might be enough to get exploring, and giving back to your community in the process.