With its Geo Tools, Google has created a platform that allows users and businesses to interact with maps in a novel way. This means that questions relating to power in the discourse of cartography have to be reformulated. But what is the relationship between the art of enabling and techniques of supervision, control and regulation in Google’s maps? Do these maps function as dispositive nets that determine the behaviour, opinions and images of living beings, exercising power and controlling knowledge? Maps, which themselves are the product of a combination of states of knowledge and states of power, have an inscribed power dispositive. Google’s simulation-based map and world models determine the actuality and perception of physical spaces and the development of action models.
I took a second and was demonstrating how much a picture makes a difference, and how easy it is to take a good picture that connects one with a business in the tone that a customer sees. I improved the pictures of an absolutely great coffee place, Noble Coffee Roasting, in one of my Favorite cities: Ashland, OR. In the end, the metrics demonstrate that it resonates with folks and shares what I feel about the location.
Put yours up and see if you can capture what it is you like about a spot and others will click on to see from a Thumbnail.
Niantic, a maker of games people play by trekking around their neighborhoods and cities, is bringing in two new investors, the Pokémon Company and Nintendo, after completing its spinoff from Google.
Niantic, based in San Francisco, said it raised $20 million from Pokémon, Nintendo and Google, and could receive an additional $10 million if it reaches certain undisclosed goals related to a new game. That game, announced last month, is Pokémon Go, which people will play by roaming around in public using a mobile app based on the popular Pokémon children’s entertainment brand.
It was always a little puzzling that a game project formed inside Google, but Niantic did not make an ordinary game. Its first effort, Ingress, was a game designed to be played in the real world using a couple of technologies that Google had a huge interest in, smartphones and online maps. It was no coincidence that the founder of Niantic, John Hanke, used to run the Google Geo team, which includes maps, after the company acquired his previous start-up, Keyhole.
In the science-fiction story line around Ingress, players must go out into the real world and locate and capture “portals” for their teams. The portals are visible to players through the Ingress app on their smartphones and can be located in parks, sculptures, murals and other public locations.
Here’s a video showing how Ingress is played:
The Ingress app has been downloaded more than 13 million times and is played in hundreds of countries (the top three are the United States, Japan and Germany). On occasions, thousands of Ingress players have met to play the game together.
The concept behind Ingress is still alien to a lot of people. In a phone interview, Mr. Hanke said the deal with Pokémon, which has a fan base of millions, could greatly help raise awareness of the types of games Niantic makes.
“What we’re looking to do is grow the whole category of real-world games,” he said. “A lot of the challenge of Ingress is simply explaining to people what it is.”
Pokémon Go, which will be available next year, can also be played with the aid of a wearable bracelet that connects wirelessly to smartphones. With a pin-shaped centerpiece that resembles the pins on Google Maps, the bracelet will alert players when there are Pokémon characters lurking in locations nearby so that they can catch them.
Nintendo’s investment in Niantic is another sign that the company is gradually investing more in mobile games. Nintendo, which also owns a stake in the Pokémon Company, refused for years to bring its game franchises to smartphones. In March, the company finally gave in, and announced a partnership with DeNA, a Japanese mobile games publisher, to bring Nintendo brands to mobile devices.
The spinout of Niantic is a more extreme version of the structural changes that Google announced in August, when it said it was forming a new holding company, Alphabet, to oversee a broad array of businesses, of which Google search is the most mature and profitable.
Just days, after the announcement of Alphabet, Niantic said in a post that it would go even further, spinning off from Google completely.
“That’s kind of a theme at Google, to take businesses that are not search and give them more independence,” Mr. Hanke said. “We’re kind of at the vanguard of that.”
Partitions may divide countries, but friendships find a way. A touching story about the power of information in improving people’s lives. (Be sure to watch with English subtitles.)
A special thank you to all of you, who make this sort of thing possible every day through all of the incredible local knowledge you contribute to Google Maps through Map Maker. You are changing the world, one map edit at a time.
MapsTD, or Maps Tower Defence, is a game built on Google Maps. The aim is to protect your home from invading creeps by building towers, which attack the creeps.
It is the most successful project Duncan Barclay built from scratch, having had 100,000 unique visitors with 180,000 games loaded within 4 days of launching.