Friday, July 15, 2016

Pokemon Go Weekly Link Round Up

This edition of the Weekly Link Round Up is all about Pokémon Go. The app that has catapulted as the top download on iOS and Android charts. People are waiting for the app to release in their country, and even now it's already estimated that 410 thousand South Korean's will download the game upon release. I'm sure the server lag will be a nightmare. And though it's only been a week, there are a ton of stories swirling the internet of the good, the bad, and the ugly with Pokémon Go. So much so that late night talk show hosts and morning radio DJ's are talking about it. It's a thing!

Before jumping in, I do want to use this space as a quick PSA. Because this app, as fun as it is, has caused a few people to forget about things such as social decorum, or laws; or even common sense. And sadly, I feel like I have to put this note in here because people are not paying attention and doing dumb things by not looking up at their phone when they walk or drive. If you think texting while driving is bad, imagine how much worse it is with Pokémon Go.

So, dear readers. Please be safe and be aware of your surroundings while you play Pokémon Go. 

- If there is a Pokestop or a gym at a hospital, police station, fire station, or any medical offices, do not go there. Do not camp out the space. You are putting lives in danger by blocking vehicles that are trying to transport people to safety.

- Look up from your phone while you are walking. You do not have to have your nose buried in the screen. Pro tip: turn on the vibrate option! When you are near a Pokémon that has spawned, your phone will buzz. That way you can walk without having to look at your phone, and only stop when you need to. You can pay attention to your landscape and not do something silly.

- DO NOT PLAY WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING. I am bolding that line because damnit people, you know better. Stop it.

- If you see a grass flutter or a Pokestop behind a gate, fence, wall, a cemetery, or inside a building that is not a public facility (such as a home), do not pass go. Do not collect. It is still illegal to trespass on private property or any government facilities. You can find a Pokémon elsewhere.


Got it? Okay then. Now that's out of the way, let's get on to the Round Up!

- If you have been jealous of your American friends, not to worry, Pokémon Go is finally hitting European countries and Australia. This week it was posted in the UK, Germany, New Zealand, and Australia. Italy, Spain, and Portugal should have access today. Welcome to the club!

- And the wait for official releases are not stopping people from downloading and tweaking settings to get the game to run. Indonesia is seeing a rapid rise in downloads using US and Japanese servers.

- While the use of Google's tech for GPS seems logical, since it's a very robust map system, it's also tied in to the history of Niantic CEO John Hanke. The founder of the mobile phone company, with the hottest game out there, was once a member of the Google team that developed Google Maps and Google Earth. He knows what it's made of and the power behind it to create the AR gaming app. The game that sold Pokémon to going with Niantic is called Ingress, which many of you may have heard of this week as Go's Pokestop/Gym hangouts mirror Ingress's game locations. The people at Pokémon and Nintendo were so impressed by Ingress, that even Pokémon CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara was a fan of the game. Thanks Google for once again making the world awesome.

- Barely a week out and of course the political world is trying to capture on the success. Hillary Clinton's campaign has been dropping the P word on social media. And some follow-up tweets have sent in suggestions to Nintendo and Niantic to try and secure rare Pokémon at polling places this November to encourage younger people to stop in and vote. Not a bad idea.

- The app is such a hit, that even a few NYPD officers are currently being investigated for possibly playing the game while on duty. The gamer that filmed them did apologize for taking the video, but really, they should have known better if they were, in fact, playing on the job.

- T-Mobile customers are going to love this one: they are giving away free data for a year for use with Pokémon Go. There are clauses to be aware, of course. The data will only be free when you play Pokémon and won't be associated with other programs or apps. The offer starts July 19 and runs through next August. If you currently don't have a plan and sign up soon, you'll be rolled into it, with the same ending date.

- Not to be outdone, McDonald's is already working out a deal with Nintendo and Niantic to make their fast food shops into Pokestops around the globe. Several users have checked out the coding in the game and noticed the pattern, which has prompted some inside sources to discuss the potential ad deal. Sponsored locations are nothing new to Niantic, having used them for Ingress. But such a big name so soon is unexpected. That's the power of Pokémon.

-  The power of the pocket monsters is so strong that a number of people are now using the game to promote their businesses. I can attest to a few restaurants, shops, and even the local arboretum have been advertising their spaces as PokeStops and Gyms for people to gather, and spend money. Niantic will be installing ads in the game soon and open up sponsored locations, so don't be alarmed when that happens. We knew it would. Until then, enjoy the bevy of lures that smaller businesses are dropping to attract people to their stores!

- If the app is killing your phone battery, there are ways to help reduce the impact. Time has 6 tips to help you out. Surprisingly, the app doesn't use a lot of data - but it does destroy that battery life, hard core!

- And are you one of those people who is just tired of all of the Pokémon talk? Chrome users have your back with a set of extensions that will block out everything on Google Chrome that relates to Pokémon. Enjoy!

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