How Googles Patent Stash is Probably Making Them a Ton of Money on Pokémon Go

Google (Googles Patent Stash), a titan in the tech industry, has a vast repository of patents that cover a wide range of technologies. Pokémon Go, developed by Niantic, Inc., which was originally a startup within Google, leverages several of these patented technologies. The success of Pokémon Go, a location-based augmented reality (AR) game, has been monumental since its launch in 2016. This article explores how Google’s extensive patent portfolio plays a crucial role in the functioning and profitability of Pokémon Go, and how it potentially generates significant revenue for Google.

Google’s Patent Portfolio

Google’s patent portfolio is extensive, covering various domains such as search algorithms, advertising technology, cloud computing, machine learning, and augmented reality. These patents are not just for defensive purposes but are actively used in Google’s products and services. The company has strategically acquired patents through acquisitions and extensive research and development efforts. This portfolio provides Google with a competitive edge, enabling it to innovate and maintain its leadership position in the tech industry.

The Birth of Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go was developed by Niantic, Inc., which was founded by John Hanke. Hanke previously headed the team responsible for Google Maps and Google Earth. Niantic was initially a startup within Google, and it became an independent company in 2015. However, Google’s influence and technology remained integral to Niantic’s operations.

Pokémon Go uses AR and location-based technology to create an immersive gaming experience. Players use their smartphones to find and capture virtual Pokémon in the real world. The game’s success is partly due to its innovative use of technology, much of which is protected by Google’s patents.

Key Technologies and Patents Used in Pokémon Go

Several key technologies underpin Pokémon Go’s functionality. These technologies are protected by Google’s patents, which likely contribute to the game’s profitability. Below are some of the critical technologies and associated patents:

  1. Augmented Reality (AR)
  2. Geolocation and Mapping
  3. Cloud Computing and Data Management
  4. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  5. User Interaction and Experience

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality is at the heart of Pokémon Go. AR overlays digital information on the real world, creating an immersive experience. Google has numerous patents in the AR domain, including methods for integrating virtual objects into real-world environments.

  • Patent Example: US Patent No. 8,989,893 – “Method and System for Augmenting a View of a Physical, Real-World Environment.”

This patent covers technology for augmenting a view of a real-world environment with digital information. It includes methods for identifying objects in the real world and overlaying relevant digital content. In Pokémon Go, this technology is used to display Pokémon in the player’s real-world surroundings through the smartphone camera.

Geolocation and Mapping

Geolocation and mapping are critical for Pokémon Go. The game uses the player’s location to determine where Pokémon, gyms, and PokéStops are placed. Google’s extensive work in geolocation and mapping, particularly through Google Maps, provides a solid foundation for these features.

  • Patent Example: US Patent No. 7,209,919 – “Determining the Position of Mobile Devices.”

This Googles Patent Stash covers methods for determining the position of mobile devices using various signals such as GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks. Pokémon Go uses this technology to accurately track players’ movements and place virtual objects in their vicinity.

Cloud Computing and Data Management

Cloud computing and data management are essential for handling the massive amounts of data generated by Pokémon Go. Google’s cloud infrastructure, protected by numerous patents, provides the scalability and reliability needed for real-time game updates and data processing.

  • Patent Example: US Patent No. 8,676,927 – “Scalable Data Storage Systems.”

This patent covers technology for scalable data storage, which is crucial for managing the large volumes of data generated by Pokémon Go. It ensures that the game can handle the data from millions of players worldwide without performance issues.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Machine learning and AI enhance the gameplay experience in Pokémon Go by providing intelligent recommendations and personalizations. Google has a rich portfolio of patents in these areas, which are likely utilized in the game.

  • Patent Example: US Patent No. 9,317,168 – “Machine Learning Systems and Methods.”

This Googles Patent Stash covers systems and methods for training machine learning models to make predictions and recommendations. In Pokémon Go, machine learning algorithms can be used to predict player behavior, optimize game content, and personalize the gaming experience.

User Interaction and Experience

User interaction and experience are crucial for the success of any game. Google has developed several technologies to enhance user interfaces and interactions, many of which are patented.

  • Patent Example: US Patent No. 8,560,310 – “User Interface Methods and Systems for Processing Information.”

This patent covers user interface methods that enhance the way users interact with information. Pokémon Go uses intuitive interfaces and interactive elements to keep players engaged and make the game easy to navigate.

Revenue Streams from Pokémon Go

Google’s patents not only enhance the functionality of Pokémon Go but also contribute to various revenue streams. Here are some of the ways Google benefits financially from Pokémon Go:

  1. In-App Purchases
  2. Advertising
  3. Data Monetization
  4. Licensing Fees
  5. Increased Adoption of Google Services

In-App Purchases

Pokémon Go generates significant revenue through in-app purchases. Players can buy PokéCoins, the in-game currency, to acquire items such as Poké Balls, incense, and raid passes. These microtransactions are a primary source of income for the game.

Google benefits from in-app purchases through its Google Play Store. For every transaction made on Android devices, Google takes a percentage of the revenue. This cut, typically around 30%, translates to substantial earnings given the game’s popularity and high player engagement.


Advertising is another major revenue stream for Pokémon Go. The game features sponsored locations, where businesses pay to have their stores marked as PokéStops or gyms. This drives foot traffic to physical locations, benefiting advertisers.

Google’s advertising technology and network play a role here. The company’s expertise in targeted advertising and location-based marketing enhances the effectiveness of sponsored locations. Google likely earns revenue through ad placements and partnerships facilitated by its advertising infrastructure.

Data Monetization

Pokémon Go collects vast amounts of data on player behavior, location patterns, and interaction with the game. This data is invaluable for analytics and can be monetized in various ways. Google’s data management and analytics technologies, protected by patents, enable the efficient processing and analysis of this data.

While Niantic owns and operates Pokémon Go, it is plausible that Google has access to aggregated data or benefits from data-sharing agreements. This data can be used to improve other Google services, inform advertising strategies, and support research initiatives.

Licensing Fees

Niantic may pay licensing fees to Google for using patented technologies. These fees can be a significant source of revenue, especially if the patents cover core functionalities of the game. Licensing agreements ensure that Niantic can legally use the patented technologies while providing Google with a steady income stream.

Increased Adoption of Google Services

Pokémon Go’s success drives the adoption of various Google services. Players often use Google Maps for navigation, Google Play for app downloads, and Google Cloud for seamless gameplay. Increased usage of these services translates to higher revenue for Google through service fees, ads, and data monetization.

The Synergy Between Google and Niantic

The relationship between Google and Niantic goes beyond financial benefits. The synergy between the two companies fosters innovation and enhances the gaming experience. Here’s how this collaboration works:

  1. Technological Collaboration
  2. Access to Expertise
  3. Resource Sharing
  4. Strategic Investments

Technological Collaboration

Google and Niantic collaborate on technological developments. Google’s cutting-edge research in AR, AI, and data analytics complements Niantic’s game development expertise. This collaboration ensures that Pokémon Go remains at the forefront of technological innovation.

Access to Expertise

Niantic benefits from Google’s vast pool of talent and expertise. Access to Google’s engineers, researchers, and product managers allows Niantic to leverage their knowledge and experience. This collaboration enhances Niantic’s ability to develop and maintain a complex game like Pokémon Go.

Resource Sharing

Resource sharing between Google and Niantic includes access to infrastructure, tools, and platforms. Google Cloud provides the backend infrastructure for Pokémon Go, ensuring scalability and reliability. This resource sharing reduces costs for Niantic and enhances the game’s performance.

Strategic Investments

Google has strategically invested in Niantic, both financially and through technology support. These investments ensure that Niantic has the resources needed to innovate and expand. In return, Google benefits from the success of Pokémon Go through financial returns and the adoption of its technologies.

The Future of Pokémon Go and Google’s Role

As Pokémon Go continues to evolve, Google’s role will likely remain significant. The game’s future developments may include enhanced AR experiences, more sophisticated AI, and expanded geolocation features, all of which will rely on Google’s patented technologies.

Here are some potential future advancements and how Google’s patents could play a role:

  1. Advanced AR Features
  2. Enhanced AI and Machine Learning
  3. Improved Geolocation Services
  4. Integration with Wearable Devices
  5. Expanded Cloud Capabilities

Advanced AR Features

Future versions of Pokémon Go may include advanced AR features such as improved object recognition, more realistic interactions, and multi-player AR experiences. Google’s patents in AR technology will be instrumental in developing these features.

Enhanced AI and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning will continue to play a crucial role in personalizing the gaming experience. Future advancements could include more intelligent NPCs (non-player characters), dynamic game content, and personalized recommendations. Google’s expertise and patents in AI will drive these innovations.

Improved Geolocation Services

As geolocation technology advances, Pokémon Go could offer more precise location-based experiences. Enhanced accuracy and new geospatial features will depend on Googles patent stash geolocation technologies.

Integration with Wearable Devices

The integration of wearable devices, such as smart glasses or fitness trackers, could bring new dimensions to Pokémon Go. Googles patents stash in wearable technology and AR could enable seamless integration and innovative gameplay experiences.

Expanded Cloud Capabilities

As the game grows and player expectations increase, expanded cloud capabilities will be necessary to handle the load. Google Cloud’s infrastructure and patented technologies will provide the scalability and performance needed for future expansions.


Google’s extensive patent (Googles Patent Stash) portfolio plays a vital role in the success and profitability of Pokémon Go. The game leverages patented technologies in AR, geolocation, cloud computing, AI, and user interaction to create an engaging and immersive experience. These technologies not only enhance the gameplay but also contribute to significant revenue streams for Google through in-app purchases, advertising, data monetization, licensing fees, and increased adoption of Google services.

The synergy between Google and Niantic, driven by technological collaboration, resource sharing, and strategic investments, ensures continuous innovation and sustained success for Pokémon Go. As the game evolves, Google’s patented technologies will remain integral, driving future advancements and maintaining the game’s competitive edge.

In summary, Googles patent stash is likely making them a ton of money on Pokémon Go by providing the essential technologies that power the game, creating multiple revenue streams, and fostering a collaborative environment that drives innovation. The interplay of these factors highlights the importance of intellectual property in the tech industry and underscores Google’s strategic use of its patents to achieve commercial success.

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