Many of us remember when GMail was first released. I know I remember pleading with random strangers on the internet for an invite. I joined chat rooms, I posted on my blog, and I begged and begged. That excitement of getting into GMail finally is still there today, this time with a free augmented virtual reality game. With Ingress in a closed beta, people are once again finding creative ways to get that golden ticket.
As users travel around town, they pick up Exotic Matter (XM). This provides the energy to hack these portals. It's found everywhere and resembles small dots on the map. Once you get close enough to them, the phone magically absorbs them. I was able to just load the application, drive around town and quickly fill up on XM.
The trick is make a plan. I was also able to locate portals thanks to a website published by Ingress. It resembles a Google Maps layer and I would love to see this added to the Maps app itself on the desktop as well as on Android devices. From the site, I've been able to plot my course before heading out. Mindlessly driving around or walking around downtown is less effective, but it's probably a little more fun to be spontaneous and explore.
As far as the application itself, it works great. It is naturally going to be a bit of a battery drain. I've noticed people going out to hack portals and get to their chargers immediately. I was no exception. After an hour of portal hacking around town, a good chunk of my battery was gone. I did notice some clunkyness in the speed of the application, but I think that's more the fault of my old Nexus S than the app. It does require a lot of resources, but what immersive game that uses a map and GPS does not? This is a great case example of having a phone with removable batteries if there ever was one.
The experience has been a fun one and I surely hope invites continue to go out quickly. In Richmond, there are several portals waiting to be hacked. I'm positive the popularity of this game will continue to grow and people will become very serious about defending their portals. I just hope this continues to be in good fun and people don't start trading punches.
Are you part of the Enlightened, or the Resistance? Are you part of the frustrated masses that have yet to receive their invite? Share your Ingress thoughts in the comments.
About The AuthorMike Lewis
Mike was instantly drawn to Android with the release of the G1 and HTC Magic which became his first phone. Drawn by the allure of open source and community, he quickly learned about rooting his device and applications to improve its performance Since then he has only owned Nexus devices for their ease of root level access and the ability to run the latest versions of Android via ROM or stock. He has owned a Nexus One, a Nexus S 4G, a Nook Color, and a Nexus 7.
He started writing for Android in 2011 at Android Activist and started writing for Rootzwiki News in April 2012. He was married in October, 2012 and lives in Richmond, Virginia.