It’s no secret who’s leading up the Niantic Labs team over at Google but without doing a lot of digging yourself it’s hard to really appreciate who he is, where he’s come from and what he’s brought and will continue to bring to Ingress and anything else Niantic Labs may have to offer.
John Hanke is his name and in 2000 he started a small company called Keyhole which was acquired in 2004 by Google and eventually let to Google Earth. He was in charge of Google Earth until 2010 when he formed Niantic Labs within Google. He may not have a huge background in gaming as a whole but he certainly has the GEO aspect of Ingress down pat and their other app, Field Trip, is right down the line of his expertise.
It’s always interesting to see where someone has been to have a good idea of where they are going. Inc did a great article going into the mind of John Hanke and get’s his take on Augmented Reality games. it’s a good read but long.