- Sony released an augmented reality (AR) game that combines characters from the "Ghostbusters" films with gameplay resembling Pokémon Go. After months of previews, "Ghostbusters World" is now available to download from Apple's App Store or Google Play.
- "Ghostbusters World," which challenges players to hunt for digital ghosts in a simulated environment seen through a smartphone camera, relies on Google Maps for information about the player's real surroundings. The game's AR Mode was built with Google's ARCore software tools for Android apps, according to a Google blog post.
- Google also added a feature to its Maps function that lets companies create a free "business profile" that will appear on the mapping software. Android users can follow a business by tapping on its marker to receive alerts about events, offers and other updates in the "For you" tab of the app, per a separate blog post.
Google Maps is demonstrating how its location-based technology can extend into both AR gaming and help marketers and retailers connect to its mobile users. Google Maps has more than 150 million places marked worldwide, including business profiles that can share offers, promotions, reviews and other valuable news with customers.
The search giant first showcased the "Ghostbusters World" game powered by AR at its booth at Mobile World Congress conference in Spain in February. The game uses Google Maps technology to help players navigate the real world and extend their gameplay while prolonging how much time people spend with the brand, a constant challenge for marketers.
Google Maps this month added star ratings (on a scale of 0 to 5) for bars and restaurants right on the map view as the search giant takes on Yelp, TripAdvisor and other review platforms. Google is acquiring reviews faster than other services, per a recent study from Brightlocal. For consumers, accessing reviews for bars and restaurants in the same app where they can find directions removes a level of friction that previously spurred frustration and caused them to spend less time in the Google Maps app. Since Google smartphones are automatically equipped with Google Maps, the app has become the default location search for the Android platform. Its ecosystem includes more than 2 billion active monthly phones, or 85% of the global market, making the reviews inclusion in Google Maps a massive opportunity for businesses and marketers.