Google had a major overhaul this week as it is now a subsidiary of the newly formed Alphabet, Inc., but one company is actually spinning off completely from this new corporate infrastructure.
Niantic Labs, which is the developer responsible for creating the massively multiplayer geocaching game Ingress, is now its own, independent company, according to a post on Google+ (via Tech Crunch). Ingress is a game where people use their smartphone’s positioning system to faux-hack real places around the world. For example, two teams (that comprise all of the game’s hundreds of thousands of players) fight over control of landmarks like the Rocky statue in Philadelphia or the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia (and I’m having a hard time thinking of decent landmarks outside of Philadelphia for some reason).
Ingress and Niantic both previously operated under the Google umbrella, but that will change going forward.
“Niantic Labs is becoming an independent company,” reads Niantic’s announcement. “We’ll be taking our unique blend of exploration and fun to even bigger audiences with some amazing new partners joining Google as collaborators and backers.”
So Niantic will continue working with Google but only as collaborators.
The developer’s post goes on to talk about some of the milestones Ingress has reached. People have downloaded it more than 12 million times, and more than 250,000 people have met up in person at live Ingress events around the globe.
Niantic also bragged about how much it has encouraged its players to trot around their cities.
“[Ingress] has inspired users to collectively walk the distance from the earth to the sun while playing, exploring, and discovering,” reads the announcement.