April Fools: 8-bit Google Maps
GOOGLE has partnered with game industry legends Nintendo and Square Enix to celebrate April Fool's Day with a dramatic change to their google maps service.
Users can click a new option that allows them to view the world in the 8-bit style reminiscent of older Nintendo Role-Playing Games like The Legends of Zelda, Pokemon, and Square Enix's Final Fantasy.
The Internet giant released details on their Google Latlong blog:
"We're constantly making improvements to Google Maps in order to take advantage of better hardware and web standards. For example, last October we launched MapsGL to capitalize on the improved graphics capabilities offered by WebGL.
In our pursuit of new digital frontiers, we realized that we may have left behind a large number of users who couldn't access Google Maps on their classic hardware. Surprisingly, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was unsupported, despite its tremendous popularity with over 60 million units sold worldwide.
Our engineering team in Japan understood the importance of maps on retro game systems. With the power of Google's immense data centers, and support from Nintendo and Square Enix, we were able to overcome the technical and design hurdles of developing 8-bit maps. Today, we're excited to announce the result: a version of Google Maps for NES, with beautiful low-res graphics, simple and intuitive controls, and a timeless soundtrack."
In other news, the Huffington Post is reporting on Richard Branson's latest venture: Virgin Volcanic.
Huffington blogger Rod Kurtz writes: "Sir Richard Branson is at it again. The globetrotting billionaire has announced his latest exploration venture -- Virgin Volcanic, which plans to charter trips into active volcanoes, the first such travel of its kind."
The new maps can be accessed by going to maps.google.com.au and clicking the "quest" mode in the top right-hand corner of the map.