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August 13, 2015

Niantic Becomes an Independent Company

Niantic Labs was a startup inside Google that developed the popular game Ingress and the Field Trip app. Niantic announced that it will become an independent company and Google will transfer Ingress user data to Niantic Inc.

"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. Niantic will be building on the success of Ingress, which has been downloaded more than 12M times, has attracted more than 250,000 people to live events around the world, and has inspired users to collectively walk the distance from the earth to the sun while playing, exploring and discovering," mentions Niantic.

Ingress data will be automatically transferred to the new company starting from September 11. You can opt out using this link, but only until September 10.

Niantic Labs was founded by John Hanke, the former CEO of Keyhole. Google acquired Keyhole back in 2004 and changed the name of the software to Google Earth.

From 2004 to 2010, John Hanke was Google's Vice President for Geo Products, which included Maps, Earth, Local Search, Transit, Street View, SketchUp. He left his role at Google in 2010 and created Niantic, which was supposed to be a new company, but became a startup inside Google.

"Staying at Google gave us the advantage of being able to tap into the data we have in Geo and the infrastructure in Google. There were a lot of advantages to doing that from inside Google with everything we could leverage," mentioned John Hanke in an interesting interview from 2012.

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