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by M.G. Siegler


Pokémon Go’s Next Big Move

Mark Wilson spoke with Niantic (makers of Pokemon Go) CEO John Hanke:

Over the course of a decade working at companies in Silicon Valley, and developing platforms like Google Maps and Google Earth, he drove a 2.5-hour commute every day from the East Bay to Mountain View and nearby cities. One day he sat down and did the math, and realized that he’d literally wasted a year in his car on his way to work, not enjoying a moment of it. Then, during a “bike the drive” day, Hanke decided to ride in to Google’s San Francisco office instead.
“I biked from my house, caught the ferry from San Francisco, and was like, ‘this is incredible!’ he recounts. “It was such an eye-opener to me. A glimpse that this could be my life, if I did something to make it happen.” It inspired his work at Google, where he led the creation of the historical map platform Field Trip, and then, the Pokémon Go precursor, Ingress.
“I developed this idea, that maybe we could use technology to help people reclaim public space,” says Hanke. “Not from anyone, but from dereliction, from neglect.”

Always loved the concept behind Field Trip -- a real-time guide for everything around you as you walk through a city -- and believe it will work at a massive scale one day, it's just a matter of time (maybe it's the killer app for AR, we'll see). Pokemon Go always just seemed like an easier inroad to the same core concept (thanks to both the gaming aspect and the killer IP thanks to Nintendo). But it's just the first step.


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