Remember when The Matrix was just a hit turn-of-the-millenium sci-thriller? No longer. Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) is teasing a blended reality game called "Ingress" that pits the "Enlightened" against the "Resistance" for control of humanity.
"This is not psychosis or some cognitive break," the trailer says, ominously. "But an actual takeover of the mind." What that actually means is anyone's guess:
Whatever it means, there's irony in the design. In using smartphones to layer graphics over real structures, Ingress reminds us of The Matrix even as it pokes fun at its creator.
What investors shouldn't miss is the subtext. In its continued efforts to blend the physical with the digital, Google is aiming to make the Internet ever-present in our lives.
Would you like the blue pill or the red pill?
Take Project Glass, which brings the Internet to wearable spectacles. Users can host a Google+ Hangout, share pictures with friends, or read and respond to email.
We can debate the merits of bolting the Web onto nature like this, but Google has good reason to make the effort. Every minute we spend online raises the odds we'll use a Google service, thereby feeding a global machine more data for framing ads.
This is why Google Fiber makes so much sense. Convince frustrated users to divert data from the likes of DISH Network (NASDAQ: DISH ) , which is already bleeding subscribers, and you've more feedstock for fattening up Google's servers.
We're co-conspirators in a global scheme to monetize the DNA of the Internet. Everyone is involved.
Even Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) , which appears to be well on its way to selling the 10 million iPad Minis it was rumored to be preparing for the holiday quarter. The tablet is a massive potential catalyst for Google, which has a large and improving library of iOS software. Ingress will join the ranks soon enough. A few million more digits for a vast and expanding matrix.
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