Ingress AMA Archive
Ingress Prime: General
Q1: When we can expect to benefit from recursing?
A1: I am told that the team is looking into this. I don’t have a timetable or a schedule or more details. But as things start to develop I’m sure we’ll let folks know what to look forward to.
Q2: Do you think Prime is ready?
A2: Yes. Every version brings needed changes and bug fixes. It is very stable for an overwhelming majority of users and game play. Are there some edge cases like playing in low or no connection situations that are still less than ideal? Yes. Do some devices have issues running Prime? Yes. Are there still some stability and memory issues like when you switch between apps? Yes. But those issues are actively being worked on.
The three remaining major features for parity are navigating to a Portal, Portal edits and sharing profile stats. I’m told those are coming prior to Oct 1st. We’ve also done some outreach to implement things based on how Agents share and use their information to make sure things like stat sharing works properly. In a previous AMA we talked about the User Interface improvements and that there were at least three phases for this. The second phase is going to be implemented very soon (2.31 I believe) and addresses many issues identified by players that I think will be a very welcome change. Look for a dedicated Ingress Insights post coming in the near future to explain those changes.
Q3: Does Niantic have metrics on players using Redacted vs. Prime? If so, can you share any highlights or summaries?
A3: Yes we have metrics. No we are unlikely to share the specifics. Redacted will be retired and going away. It is inevitable for the long-term success of Ingress. But as Prime has improved with every release, the product team tells me that I can tell you the data shows more Agents use Prime daily then Redacted. They also say that new players stay with Ingress at a higher rate that have been exposed to Prime first then the older versions with the original interface. I know that might seem counter to the current vocal narrative on social media. But focus tests and surveys reflect the Prime user interface is easier to understand and use for new players with veteran players being able to easily learn the new layout.
Q4: Are there any plans or timeline to add new Medals outside of events? Is it something Ingress is interested in doing eventually if there is not a plan/timeline?
A4: There are no timelines. There have been lots of discussions and plans on what to implement when the time is right to focus on those tasks though. We’d love to hear your ideas though so feel free to post them in the forums at http://community.ing...
Q5: Any plans to include the community tab from redacted into the prime scanner?
A5: Let me get back to you on this question. It was flagged for the team to add to the scanner but I don’t know where it is in the list of priorities.
Q6: When can we expect to have the ability to share player statistics in prime?
A6: This is coming and will be available before Redacted is retired.
Q7: Tell us about new features that are planned in the near future in the game after turning off the old scanner? This question is of interest to many agents, thank you for the answer.
A7: The near future is all about improving stability and upgrading the servers. There may be some new items or incremental features like Capsule renaming implemented. However, any major new features like seeing which Portals you’ve visited in the past will be added to Prime at a later date.
Q8: With Apple introducing "Sign in with Apple", and make this mandatory for all iOS applications with social network sign in, does NIA aware of the situation, and does NIA have a plan to introduce Sign in with Apple ID to better protect the privacy of agents?
A8: The product team says they are aware and they are investigating and evaluating their options.
Q9: Why does the activity log not show the player's own activities like Redacted?
A9: I’m not sure if this was a problem early on (I don’t usually look for my own activity) and when it was resolved. But I can confirm that you can see your own activity in the log with the latest version.
Q10: Is it intentional in prime that hacking a portal I've no key, by swiping up to 'more key', does not give a key at all?
A10: Using the “more key” is not a guarantee that you will get a Key. It simply increases your chances. It is still a roll of the dice as to whether you will get one.
Ingress Prime: Issues
Q11: Dialog boxes in Prime after a hack cover the bottom of the screen and have to be dismissed (tapped) before they go away. Are there plans to change this or move them. They get in the way if you are fast hacking like in an anomaly.
A11: Yes, there are plans to change this and I believe the team is actively working on altering this flow for the 2.31 release.
Q12: Okay, when are you going to brighten up the screen on Prime?
A12: According to the team, this is something that is in active development. We’ve made some changes over the last few iterations and the 2.92 version had the “Lighting Dynamics” slider added to the settings menu. But we acknowledge more work needs to be done and is being done. Once you try the “Lighting Dynamics” feature, can you share feedback (in the community)? Link to the thread: https://community.in...
Q13: Link button on long links don't seem to be working again. When will this issue be resolved again?
A13: The team is aware of this bug and are working to resolve it. In fact, some things have already been implemented by the time this AMA will be published that may resolve most of the issues. If there continue to be issues that have not been addressed, please use the community forum to let us know: http://community.ing...
Q14: I figured a lot of criticism regarding Prime comes from the responsiveness of the app being worse than Redacted. I personally get the impression that about 1 out of 6 touch inputs just get ignored by Prime making it feel fiddly. Since I get that same feeling with the other Niantic games as well: Is it an Unity/Niantic platform engine constraint and is there still headroom for improvement?
A14: This is the first time I’ve received feedback that one out of six touch inputs is not being registered. Can you post on the feedback sub-forum of the Ingress Community Forum with more information so we can look into it? http://community.ing...
Q15: I've not been able to successfully submit a portal via Prime. It's the only thing I currently use redacted for. Will issues like this be addressed before redacted is sunsetted?
A15: NIA OPS wants me to ask if you can you reach out to them again via the Help Center if the most recent version does not fix it. It's a one-off issue and we haven't been able to reproduce it.
Q16: It seems that many people face the same problem: prime needing to reboot after you have opened a different app on your phone.
A16: This is a known issues that we are working on and will continue to focus on during the next several releases and months to come. We want our players to stay engaged in the game and not have to restart the application at any point.
Q17: Any advances on the request of removing the ghastly flames that surround the portal pictures in Prime? It'useless and annoying.
A17: I haven’t heard anything about this specific feature. I’ll mention this to the team though so we can figure out what the intent was with it and how we can implement something better to accomplish those goals.
Q18: Could you just tell us if in a future version of Prime the first action of new players will be visible again as they are in scanner redacted? Looking forward to that contrast slider, hope it will improve visibility in direct sunlight. And was great to finally meet you in person in Liege.
A18: I mentioned this to the team when it was brought to my attention previously. It’s on the list of things to be addressed.
Q19: Are the developers aware that (atleast on Android) portal attack notifications aren't grouped together?
A19: Is this still occuring with the latest version? If so, can you post a screenshot in the community forums and tag me so I can flag it for the developers?
Q20: Please can we increase the viability of XM on the Prime scanner, I like many others was nicely surprised when it was coloured for Pride, and it made a nice change to actually be able to see it again on the scanner. Unfortunately since its reverted back to how it was before XM is now very difficult to see on Prime
A20: In between when this question was asked and when the answers were published, 2.29 should have been released. This version has a visibility slider under settings that will help with this. In addition, I was talking to the team and they agree more needs to be done and additional work is ongoing to improve things.
Q21: Is prime will be compatible with 2g networks?
A21: Prime’s connection comes from whichever frequencies your phone works with. If the question is related to low or zero cell connections. That’s a different issue. The development team knows Prime doesn’t operate as well as Redacted in these edge case scenarios. From what I understand, the current issue is related to starting Prime. In actual live field tests, once it is running, it does tend to use less data. Of course, there are edge cases to the edge case. Feedback is crucial to us in figuring out what’s going on.
Q22: When you are done with a mission a list of other missions pops up, and this is great if you are doing a banner, but they are not sorted (or at least I cannot see a sorting pattern on it). Could it be sorted by distance, so the closest ones appear first? (a filter by name would also be much apreciated)
A22: A better way to sort and filter Missions has been the topic of many conversations internally on how to improve things. Admittedly, it is not a high priority compared to the other issues the team wants to address at the present time.
Q23: Is Niantic working on a more effective battery saver option.
A23: Yes. Almost every update comes with improvements.
Q24: Why does the upper-left option for accessing agent stats disappear? How can I get it back when I want it?
A24: This happens when you zoom out. To bring it back, you need to zoom back in. This is an intentional feature to declutter the map when you zoom out to the maximum range to not block the view of anything.
Q25: An English-switch for Prime is needed if Prime is installed on a non-English device. All translations are awful and infiltrated with English phrases. Pur English would be better.
Ingress Prime: Feature Requests
Q26: Did you enjoy your vacation? It seems to have been a good holiday. By the way, there are many character medals at Ingress. I believe that if you tap a medal and the character's voice is played, the number of characters and lore fans will increase.(I think a paid voice patch is also acceptable)
A26: I did enjoy my vacation. Thank you for asking. It is always good to disconnect from time to time and spend it with family and friends uninterrupted and to focus on your relationships with them. It is grounding and provides a great deal of perspective. I think a voice pack would be very cool and doing something to amplify the characters also sounds neat.
Q27: Ingress has been so far prevalently focused on PvP. While I understand that PvP will remain main focus for Ingress, are there any plans to add any kind of PvE content after turning off scanner redacted and migrating to other servers?
A27: I can’t say for certain that this will happen or when. But as myself and others have mentioned in the past, there is a strong desire to implement features and content like this and some planning has already occurred to flush out ideas around this when the time is right to start working on these sort of tasks.
Q28: Possibility to add extra option "Bookmarked portals" in the same menu, like currently, portals from A-Z and distance for quick access. So it's not the same like key lockers.
A28: I very much like this idea on a personal level. I don’t know that it is a high enough priority given all the other things that we are working on. But I’ll pass it along and continue to advocate for it.
Q29: Any chance all characters medals will be regrouped at the bottom of the profile like you put all anonaly ones on top some time ago? Kind of messy after a time.
A29: This is another topic that comes up frequently internally. Like many features, I don’t think it’s a priority currently. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever be implemented. It just won’t be implemented in the next few months. But much like the bookmarked Portal idea, I love this idea and will continue to advocate for it.
Q30: Can we get the "navigate to" button back in prime?
A30: I was told that a “Copy portal location to clipboard" is coming before Redacted is retired. While different than “Navigate to” we'll listen to your feedback on this new feature once it is implemented and continue to iterate on it to help Agents navigate to specific Portals, stay tuned...
Q31: Over the years I collected many character passcodes. Can we please get a tool to check if a code is valid / was already used?
A31: This is a frequent ask by players but I don’t think it will ever be created. The reason being, it would be too easy to brute force. Even if we reduced requests to one check a day or even once a week, I would not put it past some folks to leverage multiple accounts to work around the limitation.
Q32: Do you think this medal [Seer] will come back in the future?
A32: Not any time soon if it comes back at all. If it does, I don’t believe it should return with the previous way it worked.
Q33: With the retirement due of Redacted. With prior comments stating no redacted skin will be implemented. Has this been re visited at all? If a skin was an option even paid for say £19.99 , would this then be considered ?
A33: A Redacted skin is not a high priority to create. Nor would it be an easy task. It’s not as simple as just creating or porting over the old graphics. The old scanner was written in a different programming language. It wouldn’t be simply a new skin. A skin would be changing the player position indicator like we did with the Toast on April Fools Day, or changing colors of the existing Prime interface. Making things look and function like Redacted would be maintaining a second completely different interface. Plus, Redacted doesn’t have many of the new things that Prime does. As a result, this is unlikely to ever happen any time soon.
Q34: Let's talk storage! Yes, I know inventory management is "part of the game" but right now it's not a very fun part. I think the limit is too low and that is part of the reason why some players use backpack accounts - not that I condone that, but it is hard/tedious to plan for anomalies or even First Saturday and still keep a decent number of useful items.
A34: Inventory management in any game is never meant to be fun. It’s meant to limit you so you cannot be a god mode player with infinite health potions, revives, or in the case of Ingress -- XMPs. Just because someone doesn’t like a rule that doesn’t make it acceptable to break it. You can’t simply make your Bishop move like your Queen in a game of chess because you don’t like the rules of how it moves.
Q35: Can we please have a warning/confirmation dialog when recycling quantum capsules in Prime?
A35: I just tested this, I’m not sure if it is new with 2.29, although I feel like it has been there for a while, but there is a confirmation warning when recycling items. I read a comment that someone accidentally deleted all their lower level resonators when they meant to delete their XMPs. I find this hard to believe, in order to do this you would have to click on the resonator icon in the inventory, then click on manage, then click on all the images of resonators, then click recycle, then click confirm. At multiple stages in the process you are viewing the actual items and an XMP looks very different from a Resonator. Not to mention they are also labeled as well.
Q36: Is there possible that all recursed L16 agents have unlimited portal submissions and the ones that had recursed two times have remote submissions with no distance limit by the Prime scanner ?
A36: No. Those specific rewards won’t be implemented for recursed Agents.
Q37: Can we bring back the Recruiter badge again?
A37: The mechanics of the old Recruiter medal were not perfect. As a result, we decided to pause the ability to earn this medal and Prime does not have the ability to email invites to others. I believe there is a desire to bring the medal back but not with the way the old one worked.
Q38: I love doing mission badges & large mosaics. In [Redacted] I have a bright orange circle turning around the next portal & can click on the address. No address in prime and I have two tiny white lines around next portal. Is this being addressed in parity for prime?
A38: This has been brought up. I’ve actually submitted screenshots myself of this. I don’t know what the enhancements will be or when they will come. But the team is aware.
Q39: Hi. Do you (Niantic) plan to turn back to printed biocards with passcode? If not yet planed, request you offer digital delivery kits for those who can’t pickup onsite and printed for the agents attending anomalies or mission days. We miss printed biocards! :-)
A39: At this point in time, there are no plans to do this.
Q40: Thoughts on adding a daily quest like Pogo or Wizards?
A40: We’ve talked about this quite a lot in past AMAs and internally. There is unquestionably a desire and intent to do this at some point. But like all new features a lot of these are going to be dependant on higher priority work be completed first.
Q41: Andrew, can we PLEASE have a new stat-based tiered medal? Find my TG message if you want to check what our ideas were ;-) We'd love to have them!
A41: I saw your ideas. I think there is something here we could work on. Just for the benefit of everyone reading this. These are some of the ideas proposed by the Agent who messaged me:
(unique) reso (slots) deployed
(unique) mod deploys (or "defensive mods deployed / offensive mods deployed / hacker mods deployed")
biggest field in comparison to link length
largest control field
number of links/fields from/to one portal made (per person)
number of mods destroyed
number of fields destroyed
(unique) portals destroyed
anything that will encourage people to fully deploy a portal, and link it (we have noticed in a lot of cities that many people only deploy 1 reso (instead of actively linking/fielding), especially when that faction is being overrun by the other)
Q42: It's been possible to use the app to report cheating and send proofs from the app itself, like photographs of places, select the name of the agent from de comm and the portal to reference where to look for evidence?
A42: This is a feature we are currently discussing. However, I can’t provide you a timeline on anything regarding it being implemented. Keep in mind, you can now access the help center within the app and report players without leaving the scanner. The FAQ mentions what we need in the report: https://niantic.help...
Q43: Is there any chance to get a misson deletion feature from our profile?
A43: This is something we’ve discussed a lot. There is a chance. But I don’t know where it ranks in the priority of things. I would personally love to see a feature like this.
Q44: Ingress : The Animation and the Dunraven case studies brought us new unknown glyphs. One from the anime is now known as the LINK glyph, but do the other glyphs from the episode 7 already have a meaning ?
A44: That’s a question for Lightman. I just earned my bronze translator medal with the Aurora hack challenge. I am not a Glyph expert and generally don’t partake in those conversations.
Q45: Are we gonna get any more series of videos like the Dunraven series? The Nemesis trailer seems to point towards yes, but I'd like to know if there's any confirmed plans.
A45: If I tell you, it won’t be a surprise! I can say this, there is additional video content planned. It might not all be pre-recorded stuff though.
Q46: There wasn't any physical registration or swag at the Myriad Anomaly sites, is this something we can expect to happen with Umbra sites and whatever else follows in the Nemesis sequence events?
A46: Nothing is likely to change for Umbra compared to Myriad regarding physical swag. I can’t speak yet about anything in the future.
Q47: Has there been any consideration for an OPR reviewing event to encourage more reviewing?
A47: That’s not a bad idea. Although it would have to be thought out well to not encourage collusion of just spamming the system for points.
Q48: Hello, I would like to share my experience as an Embedded Reporter and player. I must tell you that I did not like my experience as a reporter. The intensity of the event mixed with the requirement of 3 photos per hour made the task extremely difficult for me while taking pictures at the same time.
A48: I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it. However, the purpose of the Embedded Reporters as stated and agreed to, is to take pictures first and showcase what an Ingress Anomaly event is. Everything else comes second. It’s why we provide special merchandise to those to volunteer to do that knowing they won’t be active participants from a traditional sense.
Q49: I have 2 questions for you. Will you hold the global event in September? Won’t you change the name of XM anomaly Umbra?
A49: There is something planned for September. No the name of the Anomaly will not change.
Q50: Are there any news regarding the ingress merchandise shop? I'd like to spend all my money in useless stuff like pins and stuff to make me hated by the other faction.
A50: No updates yet.
Q51: In the future any possibility Prime will be able to send localized notification for events such as IFS or MD?. Even a monthly notification to engage agents to join in more events? Agents are missing the fun and friends!
A51: This is something we are working towards. Right now it’s possible, but it is pretty manual process. As a result, doing it for every IFS event isn’t something that we can support at the moment given the current process and number of events. However, our events team wanted me to let you know that https://ingress.com/...
will let you sort by distance to find the events closest to you (including IFS). It's a pull rather than push system, but it is available.
Q52: Has Niantic ever considered doing a virtual OPR LIVE as a special event?
A52: We have. I don’t think we’ve figured out how to make is scale. We do not have an infinite amount of NIA OPS staff member so participation would have to be limited. But I’ll bring this up again to see what’s feasible.
Q53: Welcome back! In hindsight, including the fact it produced some very exciting anomalies, and some predictable routs, do you think the process by which the Myriad rules were created was a good process?
A53: I do think it was a good process. It allowed Anomaly POCs to shape the events and have to work together to determine what they wanted to do. What might be a strong game mechanic for one region might have been a weak game for another.
Q54: Can we get an update on if or when reject reasons will be added to rejected submission emails?
A54: I asked the team about this. They said, it might be coming as early as next week. I know the word “soon” is thrown around a lot. But this is literally coming, “soon™”.
Q55: Can we expect to get features to Flag made up Portals?
A55: If you see them in OPR, you can one-star the candidate and choose the relevant category under Abuse to report these. If you notice them in your scanner, use the Report Invalid Portal option.
Q56: Is there any chance the OPR stats can be updated with what we had agreements/disagreements on? maybe add in what we helped approve/deny to.
A56: At this time there are no plans to do this but the OPR team said they will look at doing something around this idea. There are other priorities at the moment, but they seem to think some sort of feedback could be implemented.
Q57: can you clearyfy what a photo of the surroundings means? often the people just turn around 180° and this helps exaqctly nothing because you cant veryfy a portal location like this. Can we deny such portal candidates if not beeing able to identyfy otherwise?
A57: As mentioned in the criteria, players are expected to “take a clear, bright photo for your submission that shows the candidate and its surroundings to help the reviewers determine if the candidate meets our acceptance criteria and confirm it is physically located in the suggested location.” However, the supporting photo is not the only resource available to you. You can also use Satellite View or Street View (if available) in maps to confirm if the object exists in that location.
Q58: I live in central Europe and therefore get portal candidates and edits from more than 10 different countries and in at least 8 different languages, despite having no Bonus location set. Can you consider allowing us to skip more portal candidates? A lot of times i get candidates in a language I don't speak where knowing the content of the title/description or even text in the photo is critical.
A58: This is a very interesting situation you bring up and has kicked off a conversation internally. The team is going to look into this. Thanks for bringing it up.
Q59: In the UK we have some great "ghost signs" (e.g. old Victorian advertisements - for medicines and old businesses) - but most of the time, these are on the side of properties - and so are considered PRP. Lots of homeowners take great pride in these, and keep them in good condition - repainting them. They definitely have important historical and communal aspects. So my question to you - is there any way that we could submit such things, if we could get the consent of the homeowner, and if so, what would we need to be able to prove on a submission? Alternatively, perhaps you could qualify these as valid, subject to owners being able to put in removal requests on a case by case basis?
A59: If these signs are on a property that is currently being used as a single family residence, they would not meet our criteria. Please do not submit them and if you are reviewing these in OPR, one-star them and choose the relevant category.
Q60: Should funeral chapels be portals? In Portugal and many other european/latin countries you have a specific chapel to mourn the deceased before the funeral ceremony. These chapels are located outside cemeteries, usually nearby the local church. Some places don't have these chapels and the mourning is made in either "regular" chapels or churches. Some time ago, all these chapels were accepted, but now can't get a single one approved. I guess it is being rated as cemetery and rejected.
A60: It would be hard to comment on this without specific examples. If the candidates meet the criteria but are getting rejected, review the information you included in your nomination. Including a more helpful description on the significance of the candidate may help the reviewers get more context on why your nomination is eligible.
Q61: Why were portal edits in OPR added to the Total Portals Analyzed counter, but not towards the Approved/Rejected counter for the OPR Medal?
A61: Unlike nominations, where there is just one record being reviewed, in edits, you are choosing the “best of” from a set of options. Just because the option you voted for doesn’t get added to the Portal doesn’t mean it was a disagreement. That said, we are constantly looking at ways to reward our reviewers and will look into an alternative way to making these decisions “count”.
Q62: Do you have any advice how to deal with fake portal submissions?
A62: Report them via the help center with the Portal title and location. Take a screenshot and attach that to your report. Also give them a one star rating in OPR.
Q63: Can we get another response for our tickets with something like "We reviewed your ticket and found no wrongdoing in this agent"? This would help agents to improve their reports/evidence or to at least know there might not be anything illegal in someone's playstyle.
A63: NIA OPS says, “For privacy reasons, we cannot discuss actions taken against other agents and will not be able share what was found during the investigation.
Also, be mindful that some players would prefer to keep to themselves and you should respect this if someone seems reluctant to engage with you. Do not assume a player is suspicious just because they don’t meet up with you. The Agent Protocol includes tips with engaging with other players: https://niantic.help...
Q64: Hey there Andrew... hope you're well? was good to chat with you in Kaunas. What are NIA and yourself's feelings about Softplay areas for kids with regards to portal submissions? Inparticularly indoor ones?
A64: The response to this question is the same as the response in March to the McDonald’s playgrounds. NIA OPS said, “the playground typically meets the criteria of regular playgrounds...The business itself in the case of McDonald's would likely not meet the Portal criteria. So the playground is ok. Just don't try to submit every McDonald's location as those will get denied.”
Q65: Are we allowed to run Ingress Prime in an Android Virtual Machine on Android using an app like VMOS? https://play.google....
The Niantic TOS mentions that rooted or jailbroken devices are not allowed, but does not specifically mention VMs.
Q66: Mission Banners approval need more love. Rigth now I have 3 banners missing up to 8 missions to get 100% approval. It is chaotic. The rules are clear but the approval processs is too messy.
A66: Can you post the specific example in the community forums? It’s a bit difficult without knowing exactly the situation what’s happening and to provide advice. The forums can be accessed at http://community.ing...
Q67: Can we get better clarification on bans when an agent is banned. Ie what they did incorrectly instead of slew of misinformation? More clarity will help agents know what they potentially did incorrectly. Without knowing, most agents won't even want to create a new account to try to play again, as they will be constantly afraid of why they were banned before and if another one is looming on the horizon.
A67: We are working on improving our messaging to players but to ensure the security of our internal systems and avoid tipping off hackers / spoofers, we cannot share specifics of what led to the ban. All players who are banned have the opportunity to appeal and we send a final decision after a thorough review of the account. For privacy and security reasons, we will not be able to comment on or share any additional information on appeals posted on public social channels or in the community.
Q68: When voting on military base portals are we supposed to vote 1* on new portals at bases? I was under the impression that grandfathered portals are fine but do not sumbit new ones? This topic has been a highly debated issue in the portal appeals threads lately. Just asking for clarification for the community.
A68: Yes. The current guidance is to one star all new Portals on military bases. This supersedes any sub-category of eligibility like gathering places, exercise equipment, etc.
Q69: Shortly after the field covering the state of Utah was mentioned in Niantic's newsletter (which was a nice shout out, thanks for that) the whole thing, which had remained mostly intact for about three weeks was completely spoofed down. And they were really obvious spoofs. It shouldn't take more than a casual glance to confirm this and the accounts that did the deed have already been banned, So why does the process to restore spoofed fields take so long and why do spoofers suck so much?
A69: The restoration process is not automatic and very manual. As a result, a lot of things can impact the workflow and delay a valid restoration request. I have it as a task to try to figure out a better way to make this scale and happen with shorter turnaround time. As to why they suck? There are people who take enjoyment out of hurting other people or simply lack the ability to empathize with others. They may see it as victimless or do it as a way to project their frustrations of Niantic. Whatever the excuse, it’s wrong. But it is not unique to Ingress, video games in general, or life -- unfortunately.
Q70: Here there are a lot of apartment complexes with private playgrounds, which is kind of a grey area. On the one hand, they are not single residences, but on the other hand they are private residences, often with lots of signs warning off trespassers. Can we, in the interest of not encouraging rude behaviour by Agents (and by extension, those who play Those Other Games) declare such private playgrounds as off limits, much like schools are?
A70: As you describe it, these are completely eligible candidates. A person’s personal behaviour is not an indication of whether something is eligible to be a Portal.
Q71: In the light of massive banning of accounts, how to you expect "good and nice players following the rules" to prove themselves innocent?
A71: By not breaking the rules. NIA OPS false positive rate is extremely low. The communication sent to players about why they are banned could be improved to be more specific. This potential ambiguity allows bad actors to hide behind plausible deniability. People by nature generally prioritize self-preservation above most things. So while sometimes, good people get swept up in bans, those are almost always overturned on appeal. But what people who buy gear and have their child’s account store it aren’t telling you is that they bought gear. In some cases, people have been warned previously and still continued to do it. It’s hard to claim innocence when we can see a clear chain of custody of illicit items originating from third party sellers and transferred to these accounts via bots.
Q72: Where does the TOS draw the line regarding finding out where other agents live and sharing that kind of information to others? For example looking names from mailboxes to get an exact address? If this kind of action is not allowed, what kind of proof NIA needs to take action?
A72: We have no way to control anything that happens outside of our game. If your name is on a mailbox that anyone can publicly view and one person mentions that to another person in a face to face conversation, that’s not a Niantic issue. It becomes a Niantic issue if people expose your personal information via COMMS. We have and will continue to enforce that aspect of the TOS. If someone is harassing or bullying you in real life, we strongly recommend you contact local law enforcement to understand what your options are.
Q73: What do you think about a punishment system for bad submits?
A73: It exists. People have and will continue to lose their ability to submit and review Portals and some have even been banned for submitting bad Portals.
Q74: Why is GPS spoofing tolerated?
A74: I’ll bite and take the bait. GPS spoofing is not tolerated. Falsifying your location is explicitly called out as a violation of the Niantic Terms of Service. But I think there is a misunderstanding in how complex this issue is. There are an infinite number of transportation options that a person can take to get from point A to point B. Niantic does NOT have the local knowledge of all of the possible paths and ways to get between two Portals using land, sea, and sky. That’s why the reporting system exists. People have legitimately used boats, planes, helicopters, cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, roller skates, and climbed mountains to capture Portals. A common complaint I hear is, “Why can’t NIA OPS just look at Google Maps to see traveling the distance is impossible.” The answer is, besides extreme cases, it is very possible to travel very fast. I’ve had people approach me asking for help because an Account traveled between Portals three minutes faster than what Google Maps traffic said was possible. That is likely a request I’m not going to help with because it is in the realm of plausibility.
The issue becomes how do we handle the extreme edge cases that seem to go missed? For that, I wish I had an answer I could give you that would be satisfying. All I can say is we continue to iterate on things to improve our anti-cheat measures. Anyone that has been playing since 2012 can attest that methods required to spoof over the years has been significantly reduced and the level of effort needed has increased. To say we tolerate spoofing is disingenuous and not true.
The second issue that often gets overlooked is that you own your device. It is in your possession and you control it. Why does this matter? Android is based on Linux. How Android works is very well documented and known. Customizing your phones operating essentials (yes I’m being vague on purpose) is fairly trivial. This means that just about anything can be faked. In my opinion, banning by IP, MAC Address, Device ID, model, etc is a fool's errand. The same is true for Apple devices and iOS. So we employ much more advanced methods to look for signals of spoofing.
NIA OPS always encourages you to report accounts via the Help Center. While we do miss some, this information is very useful in improving our anti-cheat systems. But our system isn’t perfect. No system is perfect. Just because someone has figured out an exploit that we have yet to find and eliminate doesn’t mean we tolerate spoofing. That’s like saying Epic Games tolerates cheating because a few players were banned. Come on…
Q75: You said in the last AMA that GPS lock isn't allowed. Does this statement refer to external apps that lock the GPS position or the Android-internal ability to disable GPS?
A75: Yes. Don’t falsify your location intentionally. If through intentional means you are no longer physically present at the location represented in the scanner, that is a TOS violation.
Q76: Can you ban spoofers and multi accounters main accounts instead of just their spoof or fake accounts? each device has a UDID that is used to login. You should be able to track their locations since they share locations with you.
A76: We do and will continue to do this. That said, not every action may result in a visible action like a ban.
Q77: What will niactic do with spoofer accounts that are leveled by real players, "hijacked" accounts of real players used to spoof and bought spoof accounts?
A77: Spoofing is against the TOS -- period. You are responsible for your device and your account. We strongly recommend taking the steps to ensure your account is safe which includes not sharing your login info with other, not logging into devices you do not own, and enabling two step authentication wherever possible. You can find more tips on securing your account at https://safety.googl...
Q78: I noticed a lot of portals featuring large fountains have disappeared in my city, even if the portal was at the edge of the fountain, on dry land where agents "can interact with it". Please clarify "interaction" with a fountain - does it mean reach out with your hand and physically touch the falling water?
A78: One of the criteria for eligibility is the object in question needs to be accessible by foot. If the fountain is in the middle of a roundabout with no crosswalks leading up to it, it can be considered ineligible and removed. If you feel the candidate was removed incorrectly, you can post a public appeal in the Community.
Q79: Will NIA consider treating all military portals (i.e. including those that are "grandfathered") as invalid?
Q80: why high level resistance agents who are cheaters can't be terminated?
A80: I assume you are asking this because of a personal experience. Without knowing the specifics of what prompted this question, I can’t answer it except to say that faction has no determination on the actions taken by NIA OPS. It’s the player’s actions, not the faction, that matter. In addition, with the new three-strike policy, everyone may not get banned based on the first instance of cheating that is detected.
Q81: Should players with the recents bans around the world feel any danger from items you know you hacked yourself lets say you want to give your friend some bursters or something, would that trigger something in the system ?
A81: If you hacked them personally, and your friend is active and uses them, you have nothing to worry about. But if your friend is really your mom’s account who doesn’t play who “holds” on to your 1500 XMPs, that might be an issue. If it feels wrong, it probably is. I think 9,999 out of 10,000 players would be able to say with absolute certainty what a mule account is or isn’t. Don’t be that one who just want to lawyer the rules for their own benefit. NIAOPS will take action against accounts that are either a) part of third party seller networks or b) contain items that were acquired through illicit means. If these two situations do not apply to you, you have no reason to worry.
Q82: Is it possible to get community accounts for none player characters. For example Barney Bear used to post sitreps, photos and stories from his world tour on G+.
A82: At this time, it is not possible. I’ll ask the team if making an “aliased” account that is associated with a real account is possible.
Miscellaneous, Off-Topic, Rumors, or Rhetoric (MORR)
Q83: Welcome back from vacation, After the anime series a rumor started that those who recursed will need to reach L16 again within 1331 days, is there any deadline to reach again L16 for recursed agents?
A83: I have said this many times, don’t believe the rumors.
Q84: What music did you and Ethan listen to while driving the NL-1331 for the Europe tour?
A84: Funny enough, Ethan and I tend to listen to episodes of TV shows he has while driving. Things like Neil deGrasse Tyson NOVA shows, history shows, or comedy clips. Ethan as the driver controls the radio. But we have very similar tastes. I can’t think of a time I objected to what he was playing except when he played "MY HEART WILL GO ON" by Celine Dion and started to refer to me as Jack. That was… odd.
Q85: What was the highlight of your recent tour through Europe with NL1331?
A85: Oh wow… Great question. I do this job because I love interacting with the players face to face. There is something that energizes me when I am talking to someone who shares the same passions and interests I do. Even if I am having a bad day, going on an NL1331 meetup can usually cheer me up. I have a life, family, and a job like everyone else along with the stress associated with those things. So without a doubt, the major highlight professionally was just interfacing with thousands of people across all the countries we went to validating why I applied for this position almost four years ago. Nothing can lift my spirits up more then going to an Ingress event. Even during the live AMA sessions…
On a personal level, I checked off a city from my bucket list. That was Prague. I loved Prague. Krakow was also amazing! Pilsen was very cool too. I almost got the chance to ride a horse in Pilsen! Having to buy a package of noodles and cook/eat them in an empty can of peaches in my hotel room was something I’ll never forget either. The Cathedral in Cologne was amazing. Riding on the main highway between the Czech Republic and Poland is literally a dirt/gravel one and a half lane road was… intense. I took a video of it for people in the US who wouldn’t believe me. There was an amazing restaurant in our hotel in Utrecht with the best and funniest waiter. He even offered to have the chef make me something off menu to have a real local meal.
I think my personal highlight though was in Pilsen having a little kid come up to me wanting a picture and my bio card. He had green sandals on and green shorts -- Enlightened of course. He was was having so much fun being there. Just knowing that for whatever reason I brought a little bit of joy to his world on that day and hoping he had a positive experience was awesome. Kids are innocent. They aren’t wrapped up in the drama of the cross-faction rivalries or interpersonal conflicts. It’s just pure joy. It was a good reminder of what Ingress is.
Worst thing… having to scrape all the damn confetti off the fan after Pilsen.
Q86: For a potluck I will be attending, should I make Chili Mac or Tater Tot Casserole?
A86: If you want food for yourself for the next week make Chili Mac. If you want to actually bring something people will enjoy, bring Tater Tot Casserole.
Q87: Hope you had a fantastic time away! Question: Meatballs covered with Marinara and multiple cheeses and a thick garlic cheese bread? Or Your Mom's Lasagna?
A87: Mom’s Lasagna with thick garlic bread.
Q88: Did you make your handle. RedSoloCup, before or after Solo started to produce their iconic cup in colors other than red?
A88: I think they’ve been making at least blue ones for a long time now. So even without looking things up, I’m going to say, after.
Q89: So I'm a teen and I want to know how or what steps I'd have to take to work for ingress/Niantic. Also whether location would be a problem cos I live in South East Asia.
A89: All of our job postings can be found on our website http://nianticlabs.c...
. I have no idea what all the restrictions are, what’s available, and where. We have offices in multiple countries and it’s just nothing something I keep up on. My best advice is to check that page out and see what the limitations/restrictions are of the job posting.
Q90: Оставьте сканер в живых! Пазязя!
A90: Эволюция неизбежна.
Q91: The new field glyph is broken. Any intent to fix this? As any good agent knows it requires only four portals connected to make a field. The two extra points on two of the lines in the field glyph should be eliminated.
A91: This is a test, right? Any good Agent knows it requires only three Portals connected to make a field. I see what you did there. Nice try!
Q92: There is a rumour going around that the recursion badge is retiring once Redacted has retired. Can you confirm this for us please, thanks.
A92: Again, don’t believe the rumors.
Q93: How do you like the memes with you and Ethan so far?
A93: Love them! If you can’t laugh at yourself, you may have issues.
Q94: Do you ask for a raise after every AMA ? You certainly deserve one. Thanks for doing these. They are very helpful and are appreciated by the players. That's all I got.
A94: Ahem… Mr. Hanke, would you mind reading this post by Agent Mickster? I kid. I kid. I appreciate the kind words and while you don’t have a question I did want to just say thank you. I do this job because I love it, I love the game, I love the people, and I love the shared experiences that Ingress enables. There is life that exists in this world because people met playing Ingress. That’s powerful. Humanity, in some small form, has forever been altered as a result of Ingress.
Q95: We know businesses like Circle K and Lawson have entered into partnerships an had their locations become portals. Is this feature available for locally owned businesses, and if so, could an agent still get “portal discovered” if they’re the one to sell the sponsorship to said business?
A95: I honestly have no idea how our sponsorships work. If someone is interested they should contact our business development team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q96: Grand Rapids, MI is hosting Mission Day on September 14th! Have you ever been to GR? Would you consider joining us that day? We would love to show you our amazing (beer) city!
A96: I have been! I’m a child of the midwest and a Detroit Lions fanatic. I have no idea what I’m doing on that specific day though.
Q97: will we ever get a red faction that would maybe be a faction that you can only join if you recurse, and maybe have more power since it will always be the minority faction, and have special abilities like being able to throw over enlightened and resistance links and have red fields cause an increased decay rate on both enlightened and resistance portals underneath?
A97: Ever? I have no idea. In the short term? No.
Q98: do you know if the agent cards shown in the credits of the anime are chosen for in game achievements or totally at random?
A98: There was a submission process with a form to fill out I believe.
Q99: Any chance you could post older AMAs that have been lost with the retirement of Google+, please?
A99: Josh Stock was curating a historical list. I don’t have the link handy but if I find it, I’ll update this answer with a link to it.