What is the Niantic Project? Google invites you to join the investigation

November 8, 2012
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Since the beginning of the month, Google has been building up a viral campaign that asks the question “what is the Niantic Project.” Even better, Google wants you to join the investigation.

Some people think it’s just an Augmented Reality Game (ARG), which would make sense, but the name of the project itself may be a clue that this is something more. Google’s recently released Field Trip app, which is described as “your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique things in the world around you,” was developed by NianticLabs@Google, according to the app’s Play Store page.

The name goes beyond just being a team at Google, also being the name of the whaling vessel that brought gold seekers to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. Still, with the video below saying that “there’s more to the world than you can truly see,” it wouldn’t be surprising if this turns out to be an elaborate advertisement for Field Trip or a related app.

There are other options as well. This could have something to do with Google Glasses, perhaps even a Field Trip-like application that uses Google Glasses to overlay information on top of what you see.

Both the video and the website have a generally creepy tone, so it’s puzzling to think what kind of product this would be an ad for, in the event that it is. That said, if the goal is to get people talking, Google has certainly accomplished its mission in that regard.

Whatever it is, it looks like we’ll have to wait until the end of November to find out, if the Niantic Project website is any indication.

What do you think the Niantic Project is? An ARG, something to do with Field Trip or Google Glasses? Is Google just having some fun, or do you think something big is coming?

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