from Computerworld

Google’s Niantic Labs to become independent company

The developer of mobile game Ingress will go solo as it aims to reach bigger audiences

By Zach Miners / IDG News Service

Credit: Google

Two days after announcing a sweeping reorganization, Google detailed its first departure. Niantic Labs, an augmented reality unit, will be spun off into an independent company.

The split, which is unusual for Google, means that Niantic Labs won’t be part of Alphabet, the new holding company that is expected to be formed later this year to include Google and other parts of the company.

The move was announced by Niantic Labs in a Google+ post on Wednesday, and confirmed by Winnie King, a Google spokeswoman.

The split would allow Niantic to accelerate its growth, she said, “which will help them align more closely with investors and partners in the entertainment space,” but didn’t provide any more details.

Niantic said it will allow the company to work with new partners while continuing to collaborate with Google.

Ingress has been downloaded more than 12 million times and has attracted more than 250,000 users, the group said in its announcement on Wednesday.

Niantic also developed Field Trip, a mobile discovery app that shows users local places of interest as they pass by them.

More recently, Niantic has been developing a new game called “Endgame: Proving Ground,” which follows the storyline of the novel “Endgame: The Calling.”

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