Google launched a marketing campaign for something they are calling The Niantic Project earlier this month. Or at least, we think they did. Or someone did. Truth be told, we aren't really sure exactly what The Niantic Project is or what purpose it serves.

It started out innocently enough with an app called Field Trip from Google's Niantic Labs, a division we've never heard of before. The app is described as your guide to the cool, hidden and unique things in the world around you. It reportedly runs in the background on your phone and when you get near something "interesting," you receive a notification with details about your surroundings.

Field Trip seemed little more than an interesting social app when it was launched last month but there may be more to it. Shortly after, a website for The Niantic Project went live complete with a Facebook page, Google+ page and a Twitter account.

Some believe the whole thing could be a marketing campaign for Field Trip, but that seems rather unlikely. For one, the app was released last month so why would Google wait until after its launch to promote it? I suppose anything is plausible.

Others think The Niantic Project is little more than some type of social / viral or augmented reality game. Based on what I've seen thus far, I'd say this is the more likely of the two scenarios. Either way, it's pretty darn interesting and worth checking out if you're the type that likes mysteries, conspiracies, etc.

There's already a wealth of research being dedicated to learning more about the project. Feel free to check out this wiki started by some players to get started.