‘Pokemon Go' craze alive in Austin
It's something we often see these days, people walking around town with their eyes glued to their phones. Thanks to a new app, chances are, some of those people you're seeing are actually looking for something.
The "Pokemon Go" app for smartphones launched last week and has sent fans into a world of nostalgia, while also possibly distracting from everyday life.
“The original 150 Pokemon are the ones featured in this game they're called first generation,” Megan Ruch, manager at Dragon’s Lair, said.
Once you download the app and create a username, you get to catching Pokemon in an augmented reality.
“The whole point is that you're kind of supposed to get up and find them,” she said.
Once you get past a certain level, you can battle it out and train at "gyms. Dragon's Lair Comics and Fantasy store is one of those.
“My own clerks are coming like two hours to work so they can just hunt Pokemon for a little while beforehand,” Ruch said.
“There were a bunch of leaves going up. It basically means there are supposed to be a lot of Pokemon in this area,” Sam Sadler said as he hunted Pokemon at the capitol building.
There are some concerns. When the google sign up prompt comes up, users may not realize they are giving the app the highest level of access to their Gmail account, meaning they can read your emails, location history, and really anything.
“They have to make their money somewhere. Gathering information is a way to make money,” Bob Hansmann, director of security technologies at Forcepoint, said.
Forcepoint specializes in cyber security.
“There's a concern when anything makes it really easy to sign up for,” Hansmann said.
He says there are things you can do before downloading an app of any kind.
“There's a lot of information you can restrict at the phone level, then there's the application level,” he said.
Beyond just cyber security it's important to go catch Pokemon in groups. “We already have it being used to perform robberies where they would lure people away from their homes by setting up a fake spot,” Hansmann said.
Pokemon go is a fun app, as long as users are aware of what they're signing up for and they play safely.
“I read their terms and conditions and how they're using our information and it's really no different than anything else,” Sadler said.
We reached out Niantic labs for comment on their marketing efforts and security, they did not get back to us.