Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ingress in downtown Ontario

You may have heard of Google's newest location-based game, Ingress. The game, which is (currently) only available for smartphones using the Android platform, is basically an online geocaching game, in which the geocaches only exist in the virtual world. Using the Ingress application and your phone's GPS capabilities, you locate these virtual geocaches (called "portals"). There are various game mechanics that are also used - for example, the game itself is a contest between two different teams trying to take over the portals. If you're interested, this review explains the game mechanics.

The portals themselves are intended to be fairly unique. Google's general portal criteria include the following:

Should be safe and accessible to the public

Example types of objects:


Unique architecture

Outdoor murals

Historic buildings

Special outdoor buildings

Unique local businesses

Note that they're looking for unique local businesses. Apparently Google doesn't intend for you to mark your local Applebee's. For example, I have suggested that Logan's Candies would make a good portal.

While players such as myself are beginning to suggest some portals to Google and the Ingress team, some portals were set up before the game's recent expansion to beta mode.

Perhaps I'm giving away game secrets that can be used by the other side, but there are several portals in downtown Ontario, most notably on Euclid Avenue between Holt and C Streets. For example, one portal is located at the Ontario Mule Car exhibit in the median of Euclid Avenue. The link goes to, the Historical Marker DataBase; I have noticed that several other items in that database are also portals in Ingress.

So, while some people have concerns over the Ingress game, there are positives. It does get you out walking around (although some portables are accessible by automobile), and you can learn something from many of the portals.

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