I'm fairly certain by this point, many of you have seen the news reports vilifying Google and Ingress for portals in historic locations that people are finding offensive...mainly concentration camps. To say that only one side of the story is being written is an understatement. Here is another perspective...
First and foremost, Google didn't "send" anybody, anywhere. These portals were submitted by players, for players to voluntarily CHOOSE to go to. Furthermore, the players that typically submit these types of portals are doing so for their historic value. Let me be more specific: Different people preserve history in different ways
. Has anyone bothered to ask how many more people now have an awareness of a history that they previously never considered?
The more time that passes, the less and less people remember. In today's day and age of technology, younger generations are largely unimpressed with things that do not come to them via their laptops, internet or, in this case, their smartphones.
I have spoken to Holocaust survivors and their family members over the years. Growing up, my next door neighbors were a German and Polish Jewish couple who survived the concentration camps. The vast majority of them do not care how they are remembered, only that they not be forgotten.+The Independent
, to say that "Google sent players to concentration camps to play" is not only grossly inaccurate reporting, but it is also a LIE. As a journalist, +Andrew Griffin
, you have a responsibility to learn the facts and report on them accordingly-without your personal spin involved in an attempt to make Google or Ingress out to be bad entities. Ask the Ingress players who went to these places what they walked away with. Ask them what they now know and have learned as a result of them going to these concentration camps. Has anyone bothered to contact the players that submitted the portals? Is it possible they themselves may be survivors, or related to survivors, and this is how they
choose to be memorialized?
If I'm not mistaken, the goal of the curators of these camps is to preserve history and raise awareness of the struggles of people who have come before. Like it or not, that must now include exposure to digital media. Ingress isn't about just "playing a game", it is about connecting the world through unique places, interactive events, and historical sites. It is about learning the story of these sites, remembering the history, cataloging the past for the present and future generations. Perhaps if people were to take a step back and set aside their indignation (which is further fueled by irresponsible articles such as the one written by Mr. Griffin), they would realize that the individuals who submitted these portals have the same goals in mind as the curators of these places: preserve history, share the story, raise awareness. I promise you that NOT ONCE did it occur to them when submitting these that, "Hey cool! A concentration camp! What an awesome place this would be to play!"
It was probably more like, "People need to see this. There's a story here, a history. We need to share this with the world."
Interestingly enough, when you take a peek at the website moderated by these curators, http://www.aushwitz.org
, you will see many of the same pictures that were turned into "portals". These pictures all tell the same story, it's just being done in different ways. As a newer generation, I apologize on behalf of all my peers that our way of identifying and remembering history offends you, but you're missing the bigger picture....We
are the generation that will need to carry the history forth. We
are the generation that will remind the generations that follow using digital media that they can relate to. We not only tried to do so with pictures and detailed descriptions of the history, but with specific GPS coordinate positions to their exact locations....something that their very own website does not even do.
In closing, for those of us who are involved in Ingress, it is so much more than what others minimalize as "a game". It is our way to record history, interact with others who might be able to show us a new place or location that we never thought of exploring, and most of all, our way to learn the history of places that are quickly becoming forgotten.
See you on the field of history...
An Ingresserhttp://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/googleowned-ingress-game-sent-players-to-concentration-camps-to-take-part-10361551.htmlhttp://www.zeit.de/zeit-magazin/leben/2015-07/ingress-smartphone-game-google-niantic-labs-nazis-concentration-camp+Tillmann Prüfer
NOTE: non-productive, inflammatory, or disrespectful commentary will be deleted for the sake of staying on topic. Thank you.