Google, This Is Getting Pretty Weird [The Niantic Project]

    November 7, 2012
    Chris Crum

Last week, we reported on Google’s mysterious Niantic Project. “What is that?” you may ask. Good question. That’s kind of the point. Above all else, it appears to be some kind of viral attention-getting campaign for something Google is up to.

Update: Here’s a follow-up (h/t: reddit).

Google’s Niantic Labs recently launched the Field Trip App for Android. It was described as “your guide to the cool, hidden, and unique world around you.” The clues Google has shared about the Niantic Project would fit in with that kind of thinking. For example, the Niantic Project posted this:

While the project doesn’t seem to have picked up too much viral steam yet (that video has less than 1,000 views as of the time of this writing, and the endeavor is getting next to zero media coverage).

Since our previous article on The NIantic Project, there have been various updates to the site, and from its Google+ and Twitter accounts:

Niantic Project

As spooky as a graveyard at midnight. And profoundly cool. We call it the New Ideas Agency.

Tuning ADA
Tuning ADA – 11/3/2012
Niantic Project

A video, something to do with a 'tuning session.' 

Looks interesting, but not sure what to make of it, all I know is it connects to the ADA stuff from yesterday.

Alice is not alone… I wonder if we all might be "falling down a very deep well…"

Rabbithole – 11/4/2012
Niantic Project

Today: An NIA internal memo, heavily redacted, but not enough to prevent some interesting ideas from getting through.

Shaper Portals? Threats and Opportunities? 

Take a look and see what you can read between the lies…

Threats and Opportunities
Threats and Opportunities – 11/5/2012

Oh, and there’s a another video:

Does Google want us to think whatever this is about is something that’s going to invade our privacy?

It’s worth noting that the first video was uploaded to YouTube on October 3, with the description:

Hey… this is my first video, I don’t normally do this kind of stuff, but I was so seriously ticked off at this stupid phone I just had to vent….

Anyway the phone is acting weird. When I’m out on the street (I’ve noticed it happens a lot near statues) the phone starts glitching. I’ve captured the behavior, if you have any ideas on with is going on, your advice would be really appreciated…. Thanks!

And that the second video was uploaded all the way back in July, with the description:

I took apart the phone. There was not much to lose, it was really not going to get any worse, right?

Some major surprises inside. Found a chip with an N on it, and some research led me to something called ‘Niantic’. Prototype? I think yes!

Some other items now appearing on the Niantic Project site:

Niantic Project

Niantic Project

What is the Niantic Project? Are lives in danger?

In all seriousness, I’m starting to get the feeling this is game-related.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.