The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Google, Ingress, and the Gift of Surveillance

Nathan Hulsey, Joshua Reeves


This essay analyzes Ingress, Google’s new massively multiplayer online game, as indicative of an emergent gift economy that calls for the datafication of one’s mobile life in exchange for the gift of play. From this perspective, Ingress is only suggestive of broader sociocultural transformations in which citizens must submit to pervasive surveillance in order to participate in contemporary economic and political life. Turning to Roberto Esposito’s recent work on gift-giving and communal exchange, we explain how Google “immunizes” itself from its consumer community by continuously collecting that community’s gift of surveillance while structuring its own conditions of reciprocity.


Google; Ingress; Surveillance; Gaming

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