Following up on YouTube’s April Fool’s Day prank, Google has launched one of its own. It’s similar to its prank last year, when it launched an awesome 8-bit version of its Maps service. This year, Google has transformed Google Maps into a treasure map. In order to access the map, all you have to do is click on “Treasure Mode” on the top right of the Google Maps page. Then you can watch as your location is magically transformed into a treasure map.
Google provided an informational video that goes in-depth with its prank. It says that the Google Maps Street View Team discovered the treasures maps of William “Captain” Kid on September 16th, 2012, while they were on an expedition in Madagascar. There are several locations, like San Francisco’s Treasure Island, or San Jose State University, that have the “X” symbol marking treasure spots.
In the video, Google shows that there are many ways to decrypt the codes on Google Maps. Some symbols are revealed with sunlight and others when you align your mobile device with other mobile devices. There are more dangerous ways to decrypt symbols, such as holding your mobile device or laptop over an open fire, or skydiving in order to align your device with the landscape. Of course, Google is courteous (and pre-cautious) and has labeled some of these methods with “Don’t not attempt at home”.
All in all, it’s a well-executed and in-depth April Fool’s Day prank, expected from a company like Google. Throughout today and tomorrow, we should see some more awesomely thought-out pranks, so keep a lookout for them. If you haven’t already, check out YouTube’s April Fool’s Day prank, where they say that YouTube was actually an 8-year long contest where the winner is awarded an MP3 player and a $500 stipend.