Google's augmented reality game 'Ingress' comes to Android Wear

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Steve Dent
February 27, 2015 9:00 AM
Google's augmented reality game 'Ingress' comes to Android Wear

Remember Ingress, the Google-developed project that entices you to get outside with the promise of some light gaming? On top of iOS and Android, it'll soon work on Android Wear, meaning you can join in the fun with your smartwatch rather than just your smartphone (though you'll still need that too, of course). The idea is to get teams together to play on either on the "enlightened" (establishment) side, or as a rebel on team "resistance." Senior members can create missions, in which players attack, defend or reinforce "portals" based on local landmarks like village squares or statues. The game notifies you when friendly or enemy portals are in range, and whether or not they're under attack -- with a Google Now-style card guiding you to the precise location, as shown below.

So far the game, created by Google's Niantic Labs startup, has been downloaded nearly 10 million times since 2012. Google said it wants show the potential for gaming on wearables, with an emphasis on the social and activity parts. The Android Wear aspect makes Ingress more heads-up so that you can play it while you're out for a jog, for example. Discreet notifications also let you chat and make eye contact with others instead of staring at a screen. Google's still fine-tuning the small-screened version, but gave us a rough idea of how it would work via the screenshots above.

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While you're out and about, Google has also improved Field Trip support for Android Wear too. Rather just notifications from your phone, the app will now give you information about landmarks and other points of interest directly on your smartwatch screen. Neither app is available yet, but both will arrive at some point next month. They look like a creative way to give Android Wear a boost -- with just 720,000 sold last year, it can surely use it.

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Google's augmented reality game 'Ingress' comes to Android Wear