Niantic Labs Splits From Google, Future In Alphabet Not Certain

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Players of the immensely popular Augmented Reality game Ingress and users of the location-based information app Field Trip received an e-mail this evening from Niantic Labs. The former Google startup announced that it is becoming an independent company. As such, they advised that all data – including Ingress information such as achievement history, game progression, and other gameplay statuses associated with your e-mail address, and Field Trip information including preferences, saved locations, etc. –  that was previously held by Google would be transferred to Niantic. An opt-out was offered for both services, though if opted out, all of the previously mentioned data will be deleted permanently, never to be heard from again.

We’re excited to share with you that Niantic Labs – the creator of Ingress and Field Trip – is becoming an independent company. You can read more about the announcement here. We’re looking forward to taking our unique blend of exploration and fun to even bigger audiences. More details coming soon.

To prevent any disruption in your gameplay, Google will transfer to Niantic Labs certain data that you agreed to share with Google for the Ingress app under the Google Privacy Policy, specifically gameplay information and your email address. Accordingly, we are providing you this notice that this information will transfer to Niantic Labs thirty days from August 12th, 2015.

With the recently announced formation of Alphabet, the obvious direction would seem that Niantic might just form the ‘N’ in Alphabet, though that may not actually be the case. While this should obviously be considered a rumor until proven otherwise, Reddit user elq stated in an r/Ingress post that several of their friends that work for Niantic have stated that Niantic will not be transitioning to be part of the Alphabet umbrella.

As a friend of several Niantic employees, no. Niantic labs was an internal google startup, they were funded and given time to prove the market value of their ideas (primarily ingress and field trip).

After ~3 years (as of about a month ago), Google evaluated the net present value of the niantic properties. This evaluation was lower than the amount invested and Google decided to divest itself.

Hanke was apparently given the option of taking the IP (other than some google proprietary stuff) and going his own way.

Niantic hasn’t said anything on the record one way or the other, though Niantic employees are excited about the move, but weren’t able to elaborate further. Niantic has spoken in the past about turning Ingress into its own platform, so that may be part of the plan, we’ll just have to wait and see.

What do you think? Does Niantic have the Alphabet in their future? Or will they be truly independent? What will this mean for Ingress and Field Trip? Let us know in the comments or on your favorite social media site.

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