It’s the innovative Android application that is making headlines all over the technology world, and giving us an exciting look into the future of simulation and augmented reality.

Named Top Game of 2013 at the Google Play Player’s Choice Awards, Ingress is a near-real time MMO smartphone app designed by Google start-up Niantic Labs that is changing the way we look at modern video games.

What is Google Ingress?

According to Niantic, Ingress is not a game at all. It’s a tool and a weapon, and it’s taking the smartphone world by storm.

Ingress players don’t just sit on a couch or a bus, tapping away at their smartphone screens. Instead, they are encouraged to explore their surroundings and establish ‘portals’ at landmarks in their home city.

Using an application downloaded to their Android device, Ingress players examine statues, cenotaphs, art installations and other interesting structures in an attempt to discover and ‘tap’ mysterious sources of energy.

Along the way they can acquire objects, capture territory and form alliances. Players can choose to side with either the Enlightened or the Resistance – two warring factions competing for global dominance.

Why is it so popular? 

Since the Ingress beta was launched in 2012, the app has quickly developed a cult following, with casual and serious players alike quick to express their love of the game.

In August 2013, fan website even reported on a South Miami woman who had a blue and green Ingress Logo tattooed on the top of her foot.

Ingress is popular because it’s more than a game; it is a lifestyle for many of those who play it. It’s also a great social networking tool, connecting people from all walks of life and providing them with a common cause.

The media often presents simulated video games and virtual reality as isolating, causing people to withdraw from the real world. However, Ingress is a great example of how augmented reality tools can actually be used to bring people closer together.

If you own an Android smartphone and haven’t downloaded Ingress yet, what are you waiting for?

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