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Niantic Labs explained more about the tracking system and the removal of the 3-step display they used to have in Pokemon Go. Not only did they remove the 3-step tracking system but they also explained why they limited access from third-party services as well.
Over on the Pokemon Go Facebook page, the developers posted up a moderate message covering a few key points about the future of the mobile app. In regards to the 3-step feature where Pokemon would appear in Pokemon Go seemingly three steps away (although this feature was glitched for a lot of players, and despite being three steps away the Pokemon were much further or not even there at all), they explain that the proximity feature was being removed altogether, stating...
We have removed the '3-step' display in order to improve upon the underlying design. The original feature, although enjoyed by many, was also confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals. We will keep you posted as we strive to improve this feature.
Gearnuke explained in a post that there were sometimes glitches when attempting to follow the 3-step setup and the Pokemon would just not appear at all while the paw steps on the screen would indefinitely appear. The article on Gearnuke explained how to make use of a solution to bypass the glitch if the 3-step paw prints kept appearing but no Pokemon would show up.
The 3-step system was also being exploited by third-party services, where they could use it to display data about nearby Pokemon. In fact, various apps became quite popular as people would use them as radars within Pokemon Go to track down Pokemon within a set radius. Niantic Labs' CEO Jon Hanke labeled these third-party apps as cheating.
Removing the 3-step system and limiting the accessibility that third-party software has to Pokemon Go means that many of these radar cheats are no longer going to work.
According to Niantic Labs, the 3-step removal limits the third-party apps, and, in result of limiting the third-party apps, it also frees up their servers. In the Facebook post they state...
We have limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokémon GO to users around the world. The large number of users has made the roll-out of Pokémon GO around the world an... interesting... challenge.
Now if the post is to be believed, the third-party apps no longer putting strain on the servers should make Pokemon Go work more efficiently for users the world over. They also state that this moves them closer to launching the game in Brazil.
They also have other territories on the list but for now they seem to be doing a bit of house cleaning when it comes to the backend infrastructure.
There are some people who aren't fond of the 3-step system being removed and others who are just confused about why it was broken after the first major update. It's not really clarified much by Niantic, but that's par for the course when it comes to how they deal with _Pokemon Go. _
They still have big plans in the pipeline and will improve on the 3-step feature with something new, but they're mum about the improvements... for now.