Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) seems to be involved in every segment of the tech sector these days. Though the company's primary business is derived from Search and sales of online ad space, Larry Page and Co. have been slowly creeping into other areas of the marketplace, from high-speed fiber optic Internet to self-driving cars. In case you missed it, Google has begun making headway in another interesting arena: augmented reality gaming. Developed by Niantic Labs, an internal division of Google, the company's first AR game was Field Trip, which was released earlier this year to stellar reviews.
Field Trip gives Android users the ability to receive informative "pop-up" alerts about the world around them, from restaurants to shopping opportunities. Niantic Labs' second app, though, is decidedly less Yelp and a lot more Mass Effect, so to speak. Called Ingress, Google's newest game allows users to take part in a fictional conspiracy involving mind control, mysterious European scientists, and imminent worldwide destruction -- three essential ingredients for any sci-fi thriller.
Though it is still in closed-beta testing, Ingress has received some solid reviews out of the gate according to Google's Android App store via Google Play. Essentially, the game prompts players to make their way around using their phones' maps, which give clues on where virtual objectives can be completed. Though a specific monetization plan hasn't been introduced, it is possible that players can be prompted to visit paying businesses if Google so desires, in addition to the usual pay-to-play ads.
Even more interesting is the potential impact that Ingress will have on Google's augmented reality glasses, codenamed Project Glass. Ingress and Field Trip should allow the tech company to gauge its users' interest in AR services, while testing the technology's monetization potential. We'll let you know more information as it becomes available, but in the mean time, check out the trailer for Ingress. It's pretty epic.