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No. 1398
March 31st, 2012

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Google’s 8-Bit Maps for NES

Google’s Traditional April Fool’s Joke Comes a Day Early?

While messing around with Google Maps I happened to come across a pop-up linking to this little video:

Here’s what the 8-Bit map for Portland looks like:

They even went so far as to create a Zelda-like character for StreetViewMan:

And even StreetView itself has been given the full 8-bit treatment.  Here’s the view outside my window:

I applaud Google for its creativity and light-hearted nature.  But I can’t help but think of the (wo)man hours it must have taken to pull this off, and how those surely would have been better spent in the Places Help Forums, or on refinements to the clustering algorithm, where they would have a real-world, and not a fantasy-world, impact?

  • Great catch, David. Thanks!

    I got a kick out of that, too, but it is kind of a misuse of resources and wo(man)-hours. Why couldn’t they have just sent Mario in there to see how many Places listings he could un-merge before he got ambushed by poisonous mushrooms or torn limb-from-limb by Donkey Kong?

    The April Fool’s prank could have been worse, though: Google could have announced “In rare cases, we now offer personalized support from human beings.”

  • Sol

    Come on guys – you’re allowed to have fun at work. It helps with overall productivity.

  • Sol, I totally agree that it’s good for everyone in a company for employees to have fun at their jobs.

    But there are a not insignificant number of businesses, and employees, in this country with a lot fewer jobs because it took so long for Google to put enough resources into its small business and mapping teams. If Google had had a better track record of service and algorithmic quality when it pushed 7-packs so heavily between 2007-2011 I’d be extremely sympathetic to, and even enthusiastic about, this little whimsy.

  • You’re not wrong there David, as far as there should be all hands to the pumps to look after the large numbers of digruntled customers. Google almost has a monopoly position and is beginning to stray from the path of “Do No EviL” to a path where it is even more blatantly trying to mix up the search results and feed its ad coffers. (just my opinion you understand). I’ve just been reading Chris Silversmiths november article in his nodal bits blog. Google as an organisation doesn’t care about the punters any more.

    However on the point of the 8 bit maps, maybe this is why they are going 8 bit… has anyone else noticed how small the map listings have suddenly turned? This was today’s result
    I’ve just dumped it in my media bin as I won’t have time to write a full post for it today. Or am I just being a bit slow and waking up to something?