Meta Isn’t the Only Company Building the Metaverse

Mark Zuckerberg may be busy pushing his visions of augmented and virtual reality worlds, but he is far from the first to start imaging them. Niantic CEO John Hanke heads the company that created Pokemon Go, the mobile game that was one of the first massive AR hits. Hanke has been augmenting reality for years now, and he says that his vision to bring people together in the real world is more egalitarian than Facebook’s.

This week on Gadget Lab, we welcome WIRED editor at large Steven Levy, who spoke to Hanke about how Niantic is countering Facebook’s vision of the metaverse. Then Lauren talks with Bobby Murphy, the cofounder and CTO of Snap, and AR and VR developer Brielle Garcia, who makes lenses for Snap Spectacles about their vision for our augmented future.

Show Notes

Read Steven’s interview with Niantic CEO John Hanke here. Visit the Augmented World Expo at, and watch videos of the 2021 expo on YouTube.


Steven recommends the Andover SpinBase, a $299 speaker made for use with record players. Mike recommends the YouTube cooking channel, “De Mi Rancho a Tu Cocina.” Lauren recommends the “Maybe You Should Go Outside” episode of The Cut podcast.

Steven Levy can be found on Twitter @StevenLevy. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

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