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Why should I "watch" a nearby pokémon?

At the bottom right of the playing screen, there is a small banner that displays silhouetted pokémon. Selecting it brings up a screen that details all the nearby pokémon.

[![Typical "Nearby Pokémon" watch list in Pokémon Go][1]][1]

Pokémon are labelled with 1-3 footprints, and doubles can be displayed. When I select any of these pokémon, the silhouette becomes the only element on the previously mentioned banner.

[![The standard Pokémon Go interface changing to reflect 'watching a pokémon'][2]][2]

Why would I want to "watch" a pokémon in this way?

I have observations and assumptions, so far, but nothing concrete.


[A related question][3] raises the possibility that the footprints impart important information that might be 'track-able'. The only answer suggests the foot prints are distance, but there are a few problems:

  • My own experience contradicts this greatly, as this would mean that I am running into pokémon that are much farther away from me than the pokémon that are supposedly nearby. According to the answer, I am running into pokémon up to 200 metres away from my location. My GPS is pinpoint accurate, at this stage, so I am doubtful it is simply a GPS malfunction.
  • I can not find any official instruction as to the purpose of the footprints, and I find it unlikely that such a helpful feature would be absent from official FAQ.
  • While I found a couple of other users reporting a similar feature (albeit differing measurements), the only one that complied with a source request referenced the official FAQ, where there was no mention of distance or footprints what so ever.

I have also noticed behavior to suggest that I am more likely to find the pokémon being 'watched':

  • When I have selected to 'watch' a pokémon, it is almost always that pokémon that I run into, next. The only exception to this was a Raticate appearing instead of a Ratatta. It is also worth noting that Raticate was not on the list of nearby pokémon. Perhaps some pokémon are ommited, perhaps I got lucky and 'rolled up upgrade' so to speak.
  • When I have selected to 'watch' a pokémon, I have often ran into two of that same pokémon. That is, I will run into the first and catch it, before immediately running into the second. I never have to actually move to find the second pokémon, they just appear as soon as I catch the first, and this has never happened without first 'watching' for that pokémon.
  • On one occasion, 'watching' a pokémon appeared to immediately bring that pokémon out. I already had the "wandering pokémon" icon in my immediate area, and for all extents and purposes, I should have already run into a pokémon. There was server lag, so perhaps I was just lucky to select to 'watch' the same pokémon that was suppose to appear from the start.

[1]: http://i.stack.imgur.com/1iJz1.png "Typical "Nearby Pokémon" watch list in Pokémon Go" [2]: http://i.stack.imgur.com/Pg2Q2.png "The standard Pokémon Go interface changing to reflect 'watching a pokémon'" [3]: What do these steps in Pokémon Go mean? "What do these steps in Pokémon Go mean? @ Arqade"

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