April Fools 2012: Google kicks things off with “Google Maps 8-bit for NES” [Update: Gmail Tap, The YouTube Collection, Google Racing & Chrome Multitask Mode]
Google’s at it again, ready to trump all Internet April Fools gags with their latest creation: a new version of Google Maps made specifically for Nintendo’s original home console, the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. The search giant claims to have developed an advanced cartridge that is compatible with Ninty’s Japanese Famicom video game console; it features a dial up modem that allows the cartridge to be connected to the Internet. Once connected, Google “runs more than a hundred thousand servers to overcome the NES’ technical limitations.” Yeah, they put some effort into this one. The result? 8-bit maps are generated on-screen by Google’s cloud services in real time. Google reminds potential buyers of this unfortunately fictitious product that if the cartridge fails to load, try blowing into it to fix bugs. Just like in regular Google Maps, you can search for specific places and route a course by typing or using your voice. The company says that the 8-bit version of Google Maps will “soon be available” in Google Store. For now, however, you can actually try it out by going to Google Maps in your trusty browser and clicking the new Quest icon. The entire map of the world will go 8-bit, as will Street View. Google has made sure to include detailed icons for major landmarks (Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House, Alcatraz, Buckingham Palace, Egyptian Pyramids) as well as plant bizarre Easter eggs like an alien at Area 51 and a dragon at the center of Earth.
Watch the official announcement in the video embedded above, then test out the “trial version” at Google Maps today.
Update: Google has a few more tricks up its sleeves. Skip after the break to see ‘em! (Click here for more…)