1. Post #1
    Gold Member
    VistaPOWA's Avatar
    October 2008
    8,370 Posts


    What we know

    The ARG first surfaced on the 27th of September, when Google launched it's Field Trip app. Many users have noticed the app's curious package name, "com.nianticproject.scout", and started looking it up, only to find a Twitter account named "@NianticProject", with a few cryptic tweets, and a site with no content other than a blurry photo of a man. Shortly after that, we found a user called "@tychosees", who has been conversing with Niantic way before the official reveal of Field Trip. His Tumblr contained a photo of himself (his haircut and face matched with the blurry man's, thus confirming the connection), a painting of a boat and 5 pictures with encoded text on them. The text after decoding using the Caesar cipher:
    Code:
    1/5 shapers, like any other parasite always seek new hosts in order to expand their kingdom. there's one law you can hang your hat on, everywhere. every form of life wants to thrive
     
    2/5 this led to a disturbing period. Was I a plagiarist but if so from whom? where did my ideas come from? where did anybody's ideas come from?
     
    3/5 i am not qualified to testify about Shaper Theory but I know that some places are special. Great Cities are nearly always founded on places that are strong with a certain type of XM.
     
    4/5 what if they are already among us, but we don't realize it, because we don't think of them as life forms at all? And the key word here is "think". A thought virus
     
    5/5 every operation reaches a risk-assessment stage, at this point, my determination is that Niantic is causing more trouble than it is worth.
    Oddly enough, this text was posted on Pastebin on the 25th of August, a month before the images were released (this is pure speculation, it is possible that Tycho's Tumblr was created in July, when he first tweeted)
    This is the end of Phase 1, as I like to call it. No more clues were provided.

    Niantic resurfaced on the 1st of November, with an update to the nianticproject.com site and new tweets from @NianticProject. It is probable that the website was made by Tycho too.

    The first update includes a photo of the Niantic Project's logo, Tycho's first poster and an introduction video to the ARG. The word of the day is CONSPIRACY BOARD.

    The second update contains a video of a displeased eBayer, who bought a malfunctioning smartphone, and a few screencaps of a satellite survey webapp (found HERE). Both references "XM" (on the smartphone's screen and on the screencaps), which was first mentioned in the 3rd Tycho poster. The word of the day is BLACKDEV.

    The third update: A chatlog and Tycho's fifth poster. The chatlog features two, Loeb and Bowles discussing about a project. Loeb is probably is probably a contractor, working for Bowles, who is part of the New Ideas Agency (source of MIBs abducting people? confirmation needed). His flight is from San Francisco to Zürich. The chatlog mentions ADA, a woman's codename (possibly an AI?). The word of the day is DEEP THROAT (no, not the sexual term).

    The fourth update appears to be a smaller one, the only new thing on the site is a video of ADA's "tuning session". It consists of an excerpt from "Alice in Wonderland" and the pictures of the book's pages. The word of the day is INGRESS.

    Update 5: A heavily [REDACTED] document was posted on the site. Contrast/brightness fuckery reveals "321 123 ada", upside "2 2 2 2 2 2" and "=MVVgckTP1UQgUkUBBSWFhEV" (reverse Base64 for "THEY ARE AMONG US"). The word of the day is NIANTIC.

    Update 6: Ben Jackland takes apart his glitchy phone in hopes of finding the second SIM card that caused him many sleepless nights. He takes it apart, but doesn't find a SIM, only a sticker with the Niantic Project's logo on it. The phone can still receive calls even after being dismantled. Fuck telemarketers. The acronym of the day is P.S.D. (Personal Surveillance Device, aka your smartphone of choice).

    Update 7: A chatlog appears, containing an excerpt from the talks between the Director of NIA, Yuen Ni, and the "PR" executive of NIA, Ken Owen. They talk about recovering Devra Bogdanovich's lost phone and about the nianticproject.com website. Another quite [EXPUNGED] document is posted too. Error level fuckery revealed a goo.gl URL leading to another chatlog. The word of the day is INVERSE SURVEILLANCE.

    Update 8: Ben's apartment has been broken into, the thieves only took the chip from Devra's disassembled phone. Ben hears a french woman speak on TV, but it has no signal. The video ends with an urbdrone coming up to Ben's window and static. An audio diary of a psychiatrist talking about his patients' health is revealed. The word of the day is URBDRONE.

    Update 9: Dr. Hollis' 3rd audio diary is posted, along with a video of a NV recording. It contains a QR code, but we haven't solved it yet. The word of the day is PAREIDOLIA.

    Update 10: Another ADA tuning sequence has been revealed, which sounds like an entrance interview to NIA. The word of the day is MOSAIC THEORY.

    Update 11: Nothing new.

    Current puzzles

    An anonymous tip was posted on the website: 805 3NIA OPS
    Facepunch user benjgvps has called the number, results below
    I tried the 805 3NIA OPS number on the site (805 appears to be in California) using GMail, because fuck long distance fees. When I called I got a series of DTMF tones, which I attempted to decode using a random app I found on Google Play held to my headphones. It came out with "466**251###6***00452". I tried a website that detects DTMF and it says "46*251#6*0452", which looks a lot more correct considering the number of beeps...
    Solved: It's the coordinates of CERN.



    If you have any information about the ARG and it's not in the OP, post it.
    The OP will be updated semi-regularly.

    We now have an IRC channel!
    Address: irc.irchighway.net
    Channel: #Niantic
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  2. Post #2
    Gold Member
    benjgvps's Avatar
    June 2008
    6,593 Posts
    Also, the videos:
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  3. Post #3
    Gold Member
    VistaPOWA's Avatar
    October 2008
    8,370 Posts
    After reviewing a few old tweets, I have found a few videos that were put on the Internet during Phase One, and are related.
    Apparently Tycho had a "talk" of his own at Comic-con
    Tycho caught on camera giving his paintings away
    Uploaded by the same guy, professor gets hauled off by men in black after talking about portals "only viewable through cell phones"

    This shit's getting a bit bigger than I thought.

  4. Post #4
    ShootEvryRapper's Avatar
    August 2010
    194 Posts
    Movie hyping?
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  5. Post #5
    â–“â–“â–“ italian
    TerabyteS_'s Avatar
    June 2011
    2,645 Posts
    Google are having an actual ARG? The world is turning over.

    Could it also be related by their disclosure of the map of one of their data centers?

  6. Post #6
    Gold Member
    JimJam707's Avatar
    May 2011
    1,439 Posts

    Looks like a ZTE Phone with ICS+ soft buttons, and 'Upgrade' and 'Recharge'

  7. Post #7
    Gold Member
    VistaPOWA's Avatar
    October 2008
    8,370 Posts
    MIB at the very end of this video too.
    They were probably dragged off into a Google office or something. Those poor souls.

    Edited:

    Field Trip was updated on the 1st of November. If you have it installed on your phone (have to be in the US to use it), please check for secret stuff.

  8. Post #8
    DrTaxi's Avatar
    September 2009
    2,730 Posts
    This would be way cooler if they hadn't put up that "ohai we're doing an ARG guys" page.
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  9. Post #9
    hOnK :o)
    i300's Avatar
    December 2009
    3,987 Posts
    oh jesus christ

    Edited:

    gonna get field trip on my phone and go around LA, maybe i'll find somewhere. gotta keep up with this shit.
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  10. Post #10
    DrTaxi's Avatar
    September 2009
    2,730 Posts
    has anyone actually tried this around the location shown in the "creepy phone" video?

  11. Post #11
    Secure, Contain, Protect.
    Zombii's Avatar
    October 2008
    7,972 Posts
    holy shit the MIB in the second video
    this looks really REALLY good
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  12. Post #12
    Here I sit, I am elated, Came to shit, Ejaculated
    CapLaPorte's Avatar
    December 2010
    902 Posts
    This is neat, damn dissapointing that I live in Canada, ah well, I'll just follow along.
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  13. Post #13
    Gold Member
    benjgvps's Avatar
    June 2008
    6,593 Posts
    This is neat, damn dissapointing that I live in Canada, ah well, I'll just follow along.
    Niantic Labs has this US only app out: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...WN0LnNjb3V0Il0

    Ten bucks it's yet another US only service from Google.

  14. Post #14
    Mr. Massacre's Avatar
    April 2010
    789 Posts
    I hope this ends up being related to Glass somehow. Field Trip seems like it'd be a early precursor for some functionality on the Glass...
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  15. Post #15
    Gold Member
    VistaPOWA's Avatar
    October 2008
    8,370 Posts
    -snip-

  16. Post #16
    AlarinTaylor's Avatar
    June 2007
    636 Posts
    "46*251#6*0452"
    Long/Lat Coords maybe?

    Edit: It's the coords of CERN.

    Edit2: There two parts(top left and right) of a four part QR code in image 5 of 5. We pulled them out and are currently looking for the other parts.

    Edit3: The big shape of the globe in image 5 of 5 is Switzerland and the X is on CERN. The XM data has a big spike over CERN too.

    Edit4: The shape in image 4 of 5 is of Croatia. The shape in image 3 of 5 is Afghanistan.

    Edit5: We're working on setting up a wiki with all the known information. Will post link soon.

    Edit6: Wiki is up and we're working hard to add information. Feel free to come help but if people attempt to ruin it we'll lock everyone out. http://googlearg.schlarp.com/

    Edit7: We pulled some audio from the "Glitchy Phone" video: http://soundcloud.com/aubron-wood/field-google-arg
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  17. Post #17
    Gold Member
    mchapra's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,001 Posts
    What is this even leading up to? Seems way too much effort for a google web project, it could be something bigger.
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  18. Post #18
    Gold Member
    VistaPOWA's Avatar
    October 2008
    8,370 Posts
    Long/Lat Coords maybe?

    Edit: It's the coords of CERN.

    Edit2: There two parts(top left and right) of a four part QR code in image 5 of 5. We pulled them out and are currently looking for the other parts.

    Edit3: The big shape of the globe in image 5 of 5 is Switzerland and the X is on CERN. The XM data has a big spike over CERN too.

    Edit4: The shape in image 4 of 5 is of Croatia. The shape in image 3 of 5 is Afghanistan.

    Edit5: We're working on setting up a wiki with all the known information. Will post link soon.

    Edit6: Wiki is up and we're working hard to add information. Feel free to come help but if people attempt to ruin it we'll lock everyone out. http://googlearg.schlarp.com/doku.php?id=start

    Edit7: We pulled some audio from the "Glitchy Phone" video: http://soundcloud.com/aubron-wood/field-google-arg
    I think it's a bit too early to start doing a wiki, at the moment I don't know of anyone else other than me and a few other FPers doing this ARG, and so far clues and hints have been heavily regulated.

    Update 3 is up on Niantic, by the way.

  19. Post #19
    AlarinTaylor's Avatar
    June 2007
    636 Posts
    I think it's a bit too early to start doing a wiki, at the moment I don't know of anyone else other than me and a few other FPers doing this ARG, and so far clues and hints have been heavily regulated.

    Update 3 is up on Niantic, by the way.
    We're aware. We have a group of people working on various aspects and angles of this and thought that a wiki would be a good way to document finds and share them with other who want to work too. Could be a big hoopla about nothing, but we've been constantly pulling up new info for the past few hours so until a clear end is in sight, we're going to keep working.

    Edit: We found the rest of the QR code on image 5 of 5 and are currently working to decode the text it gave us.

    Edit2: Got it. It's on the wiki: http://googlearg.schlarp.com/investigation:tycho_posters#poster_5_qr

  20. Post #20
    Gold Member
    VistaPOWA's Avatar
    October 2008
    8,370 Posts
    Can anyone identify the university where the abduction of the professor has taken place?

    I can hear the audience saying "That's in front of our campus..." when the image of a statue was shown.

    Edited:

    https://plus.google.com/105211554081025512763/posts - Niantic Project
    https://plus.google.com/115067082786289411992/posts - Kiss Starchild

    Just a few people to follow.

  21. Post #21
    AlarinTaylor's Avatar
    June 2007
    636 Posts
    IRC channel is up.
    irc.irchighway.net #niantic

  22. Post #22
    Gold Member
    VistaPOWA's Avatar
    October 2008
    8,370 Posts
    We found a picture of an ID card from New Ideas Agency in the stream that nianticproject.com gets it's content from.

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  23. Post #23
    Gold Member
    Campin Carl's Avatar
    October 2006
    5,247 Posts
    Invent - investigate - meddle?

  24. Post #24
    Gold Member
    VistaPOWA's Avatar
    October 2008
    8,370 Posts
    Find - Investigate - Manipulate/Temper

  25. Post #25
    Robbi's Avatar
    March 2012
    1,001 Posts
    Definitely a film hype. The classroom video was too you know.. had that handheld-camera-shot-movie-type feeling.
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  26. Post #26
    GemuMasuta's Avatar
    March 2012
    99 Posts
    Stupid question but uh... what does ARG actually stand for?
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  27. Post #27
    Gold Member
    foarks's Avatar
    September 2009
    974 Posts
    Stupid question but uh... what does ARG actually stand for?
    Alternate Reality Game.

    Edited:

    fuck this whole thing is so well-thought out, I love Google
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  28. Post #28
    [Slendy v2.0]'s Avatar
    October 2012
    604 Posts
    I would like to take this time to remind everyone what Niantic was, for those that don't know. Boats and water seem to be a recurring motif, but this could be a red herring. Take it as you will.

    Niantic was a whaleship that brought fortune-seekers to Yerba Buena later renamed San Francisco during the California Gold Rush of 1849. Run aground and converted into a storeship and hotel, she was a prominent landmark in the booming city for several years. The site of Niantic beside the Transamerica Pyramid is now a California Historical Landmark. Artifacts excavated in 1978 and the ship's log from her last voyage are on display in the San Francisco Maritime Museum.


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  29. Post #29
    Gold Member
    VistaPOWA's Avatar
    October 2008
    8,370 Posts
    Update four is on the site.

    Edited:

    in other news, the guys behind the Wiki found the XM study webapp, big props to them.

    http://commondatastorage.googleapis....y/xmstudy.html

    Edited:

    apparently this thing

    this ID badge

    and this guy


    was found by the wiki guys.

    It'd be helpful if you guys posted here too so we know what the heck is going on.

  30. Post #30
    DVH

    May 2010
    1,103 Posts
    https://plus.google.com/102598577258553073047/posts

    This is what a quick Google on Devra gives me. If not a profile made for this ARG, it seems Google has taken a name of one of their employees.

    The thing that man in the third photo is wearing is a pair of Google Glasses.

    EDIT: Welp, that was already on the wiki. Not snipping it though, it might save 5 seconds of somebody's time.

  31. Post #31
    Gold Member
    VistaPOWA's Avatar
    October 2008
    8,370 Posts
    OP updated with day 5 and 6.

    Edited:

    This guy here had this in it's metadata: "SftKj lj ooj ptwh"
    The author of it, according to the metadata, Battista Bellaso, is the inventor of the Vigenére cipher.

    Using the key ADA, we were able to decode the URL http://goo.gl/jHtfP

    From that, we got the mp3 files http://googlearg.schlarp.com/_media/...on:contact.mp3 and http://googlearg.schlarp.com/_media/...n:inspired.mp3
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  32. Post #32

    November 2012
    1 Posts
    When I darkened a photo from the Niantic website, hot pixels seemed to appear around the image. This may not mean anything, but it's worthy to note that this doesn't occur when you darken images. Take a look:


  33. Post #33

    November 2012
    2 Posts
    Has anyone translated this:

    Nds Srkfw Scwunarml olse r lwlnsg ib uaxnikarf daskicfwudaxl rl r qkannsm frmcorcs. Nkreanaimrf ndamvamc hsfaszsl frmcorcs qrl hrlaxrffw poln rm amzsmnikw lwlnsg ik r ksxaus lwlnsg.

    Hon A lss ligsndamc eabbsksmn. Bik amlnrmxs, ims ib nds bakln nrhfsnl ksrel 'Giomnraml ib Facdn' rme A xrmmin kslaln xigurkamc ndrn ni iok gieskm ximxsun ib 'Nds Smfacdnsmse.'

    Grwhs an al r xiamxaesmxs, hon dimslnfw, A rg min amxfamse ni hsfaszs am nds syalnsmxs ib nkos xiamxaesmxs. Xiamxaesmxs al favs r lnsq, qs vmiq nds bfrzik, qs poln ei min vmiq nds amckseasmnl.
    It's from Day 6, when you click on "Who is Ada", you can scroll way down on the pop-up.

  34. Post #34

    November 2012
    2 Posts
    there have been lots off messages about these things called shapers and how they may be among use. if you watch this video Professor talks about Portals? ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAcLaXklAww ) at 1:59 there is a student with white glowing eyes seems suspicious no?

  35. Post #35
    JumJum's Avatar
    November 2010
    1,121 Posts
    there have been lots off messages about these things called shapers and how they may be among use. if you watch this video Professor talks about Portals? ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAcLaXklAww ) at 1:59 there is a student with white glowing eyes seems suspicious no?
    There is no 1:59 in that video.
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  36. Post #36

    November 2012
    3 Posts
    Has anyone translated this:



    It's from Day 6, when you click on "Who is Ada", you can scroll way down on the pop-up.
    I've put some work into it, and after manually swapping letters around I got this:
    THE EARLY EGYPTIANS USED A SYSTEM OF PICTORIAL HIEROGLYPHICS AS A WRITTEN LANGUAGE. TRADITIONAL THINKING BELIEVES LANGUAGE WAS BASICALLY JUST AN INVENTORY SYSTEM OR A RECIPE SYSTEM. BUT I SEE SOMETHING DIFFERENT. FOR INSTANCE, ONE OF THE FIRST TABLETS READS \'MOUNTAINS OF LIGHT\' AND I CANNOT RESIST COMPARING THAT TO OUR MODERN CONCEPT OF \'THE ENLIGHTENED.\' MAYBE IT IS A COINCIDENCE, BUT HONESTLY, I AM NOT INCLINED TO BELIEVE IN THE EXISTENCE OF TRUE COINCIDENCE. COINCIDENCE IS LIKE A STEW, WE KNOW THE FLAVOR, WE JUST DO NOT KNOW THE INGREDIENTS

  37. Post #37

    November 2012
    2 Posts
    There is no 1:59 in that video.
    yea sorry i meant 0:59

  38. Post #38

    November 2012
    2 Posts
    Nice one Decypher.

  39. Post #39
    WubWubWompWomp's Avatar
    June 2011
    1,479 Posts
    Is Niantic an acronym? New Ideas Agency is involved, somehow, which, if put into an acronym is NIA, what could the NTIC stand for?

  40. Post #40

    November 2012
    1 Posts
    Is Niantic an acronym? New Ideas Agency is involved, somehow, which, if put into an acronym is NIA, what could the NTIC stand for?
    It could be but I doubt it, It is off an old boat as Slendy v2.0 pointed out above...

    I would like to take this time to remind everyone what Niantic was, for those that don't know. Boats and water seem to be a recurring motif, but this could be a red herring. Take it as you will.

    Niantic was a whaleship that brought fortune-seekers to Yerba Buena later renamed San Francisco during the California Gold Rush of 1849. Run aground and converted into a storeship and hotel, she was a prominent landmark in the booming city for several years. The site of Niantic beside the Transamerica Pyramid is now a California Historical Landmark. Artifacts excavated in 1978 and the ship's log from her last voyage are on display in the San Francisco Maritime Museum.*





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