If anyone reading, plays or is involved in the popular global game Ingress and happens to have an Android Wear smartwatch, you might want to check for an update to Ingress. This latest update, version 1.81.0, brings the typical attempts to make the app less battery-destroying, as well as an extension to Wear, at long last. 1.81.0 brings a miniaturized version and interface of Ingress to the display we wear on the wrist.
Ingress, for those that might not recognize the name, is a game that Google developed through their Niantic Labs team. The game is essentially a global-scale capture-the-flag match, and it makes seeing the community and city you’re a part of essential to gameplay, which is a great way to get folks up and moving even with their tech. The update brings the Ingress interface to the smartwatch, and that’s a big move.
The interface on the watch is rather simple, obviously, and allows you to see nearby portals, captured or not, as well as the direction they are in from your current position. You’ll get the (estimated) distance to the portal from you, as well as the picture associated with it as the background. There will be a scanning overlay the entire time, constantly updating the distance and other relevant information. On any portal’s screen, you’ll see (if there are multiple portals nearby) arrows with how many more are in either the up or down the list from the currently displayed one. Once you reach a portal, the distance will turn into a ‘hack’ button, and once you successfully hack the portal, you’re shown your reward(s) in a neat list. And once you hack a portal, there will be a small yellow key above the portal’s name, and a timer for how long it’s been since you hacked it.
The interface is bare-bones, and since Ingress is GPS-reliant, your phone or smartwatch need to have a GPS module on to actually play. This update might not allow for the watch to be worn separate from the phone, but it certainly could help those wishing to be more discreet in public do just that.