Pokemon Go Battery Saving Feature Returns As Niantic Tests New Tracking Mode
There's a new update available for Pokemon Go and because Niantic seems to have learned its lesson about not communicating with gamers, the release notes reveal a list of feature updates that go way above and beyond "minor text fixes," the sole description in one of Pokemon Go's earlier updates. Among the various changes is a new "Sightings" feature to help locate Pokemon characters in the vicinity.
Niantic caught a lot of flak over its broken tracking system. In the early going, nearby Pokemon characters would appear in the tracking menu with up to three footprints underneath them. The more footprints that appeared, the farther away the character in question would be. Niantic intentionally broke the tracking system to prevent third-party sites and services from tapping into its servers to pinpoint nearby critters, both because Niantic viewed it as cheating and because it was putting a strain on its servers.
It took some time for that to come to light because Niantic was eerily silent about the situation. Those days appear to be gone and a more communicative Niantic has promised to bring tracking back. This latest update appears to be the first step in that direction, though only a subset of users have access to the full tracking feature.
Tracking Pokemon characters consists of two parts. First is the Sightings feature, which highlights characters that are relatively close to you. Niantic spruced up the graphics a bit by adding grass around the characters, but what's most important here is that the characters that appear are actually close to your position.
Niantic is also experimenting with a revised Nearby system. Instead of using footprints, it shows characters next to specific Pokestops in your location. Unlike those that appear in Sightings, these may not be in your immediate vicinity, but they're easily tracked since finding Pokestops has never been an issue.
Beyond making improvements to tracking, Niantic says it resolved issues with the battery saver mode and re-enabled it in this latest update. That's a big plus since the game tends to drain batteries pretty quick.
You can download the latest version of Pokemon Go from Google Play and iTunes.