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Pokemon Go

Months after Pokemon Go's initial launch, the team at Niantic is still trying to optimize the popular mobile game's "Nearby" feature, which lets you more easily track down specific pocket monsters. According to a recent announcement, a testing phase for this feature has just launched in even more areas.

In recent weeks, testing for a new Nearby feature in Pokemon Go has been live in some parts of San Francisco. Over on the Pokemon Go website, Niantic has announced that the testing will now reach even more gamers, including players in parts of Arizona, the Seattle area of Washington, and the rest of the San Francisco Bay area. It's not a huge sampling, but that should cover enough ground for the developer to gear up for a global rollout.

The announcement goes on to state that Niantic will continue to keep a close eye on community feedback for the Nearby feature, with changes being made if necessary. If all goes well, we could soon see a return of the Nearby feature in more and more regions, which should make hunting Pokemon that much easier.

When Pokemon Go first launched, it had a Nearby feature that was supposed to give you an idea of what Pokemon were in the area, and about how far away they were. There was even a tracking system of sorts that was supposed to help point you in the correct direction.

When that feature didn't work out quite like Niantic had planned, they decided to pull it from the game to make some adjustments. It's been a long time coming, but it looks like the developer is pretty happy with the solution they've come up with.

They haven't been taking this lightly, though, as the initial testing phase has been live in San Francisco for almost three months. If they're expanding to new areas, though, we assume that means things are going pretty well.

With the new tracker in Pokemon Go, players will be able to use a tweaked version of the older system, which just gives you an idea of what Pokemon are appearing nearby naturally. The newer feature, though, kind of turns Pokestops into additional radars. Selecting a stop, it'll give you an idea of what type of Pokemon are nearby, giving you a better idea of which direction to go or which stops to visit.

We haven't actually had an opportunity to try out this new Pokemon Go feature ourselves, but fans seem to agree it's a step in the right direction. If you've got a review of the new Nearby system from your own usage, feel free to tell us how things are going in the comments below.

Otherwise, it's nice to see Niantic still focusing on these key features in Pokemon Go. Hopefully, the game will continue to grow and, in time, draw wayward Trainers back to the fold.

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