Google has done it again.
Just in time for April Fool's Day, Google has introduced Google Maps Quest, a retro 8-bit version of its mapping tool that is... totally awesome.
In a characteristically whimsical video, available above, Google employees introduce the new version for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), replete with finicky cartridge and 8-bit music.
"With Google Maps 8-bit, you can do all the things you already do on regular Google Maps," writes Tatsuo Nomura, a Google software engineer, in a post on Google's official Maps blog. "Search for famous landmarks and sites around the world. Take an epic journey with 8-bit Street View. Get detailed directions to avoid dangerous paths, and battle your way through a world of powerful monsters and mystic treasures."
To use Quest (from your computer, of course), head over to Google Maps and simply click the "Quest" box in the top right corner. Then, you're whisked away to 8-bit land of maps. Be sure to try Street View in Quest mode.
Google notes in the post that this will be the first NES cartridge to be released in almost 18 years (yes, you are getting old) and that there is already a version in develoment for the Game Boy.
Google has had a long history of April Fool's gags. In 2007, the company announced TiSP, the Toilet Internet Service Provider, "a self-installed, ad-supported online service that will be offered entirely free to any consumer with a WiFi-capable PC and a toilet connected to a local municipal sewage system."
Last year, the search giant released "Gmail Motion," which allowed users to use hand signals to perform tasks in Gmail. And when users searched for "Helvetica," Google returned results in Comic Sans.
We're still one day away from April Fool's, so we imagine that there are more tricks up Google's sleeve.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/theyoutubecollection" target="_hplink">With The YouTube Collection</a>, Google is offering "a whole new way to enjoy the videos you love." And by "whole new way," Google means having YouTube videos delivered on DVDs right to your door. And if that's not enough -- you'll also be able to get trending videos on laser disk as well as royalty-free audio on records. Ready to order hundreds of thousands of DVDs for home delivery? <a href="http://www.youtube.com/theyoutubecollection" target="_hplink">Click here</a>.
Google announced on April 1 its intention to gather images of 98% of the Australian outback using cameras mounted to the heads of Big Red kangaroos. <a href="http://google-au.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/google-street-roo-exploring-outback-one.html" target="_hplink">From the Google Australia Blog</a>: <blockquote>Over the next four weeks, more than a thousand Big Red kangaroos will be equipped with a 360-degree head camera that will automatically capture images when the marsupial is on the move during daylight hours.</blockquote>
Google announced on late on March 31 that <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/03/bringing-self-driving-cars-to-nascar.html" target="_hplink">it's formed a partnership with NASCAR</a> and will have self-driving race car "<a href="http://www.nascar.com/video/none/none/120331/cup-mar-google/" target="_hplink">entered in competition</a> by the middle of next season." This one doesn't seem too out-of-this-world, as Google has been working on self-driving vehicles for some time now. For more, <a href="http://www.google.com/racing/" target="_hplink">check out Google Racing</a> and then head over to NASCAR <a href="http://www.nascar.com/video/none/none/120331/cup-mar-google/" target="_hplink">to watch the video of the "announcement."</a>
Be twice as productive on the internet with <a href="https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/multitask.html" target="_hplink">Chrome's new Multitask Mode</a>. "Welcome to the ambinavigation revolution," says Google.
Google <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/01/gmail-tap-google-april-fools-day_n_1394635.html" target="_hplink">is now offering Gmail Tap, a replacement</a> for those pesky full QWERTY keyboards on mobile devices. "Gmail tap replaces the default keybaord in the gmail app with on that only has two buttons," Reed Morse (<a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/reedmorse" target="_hplink">an actual Google employee?!</a>) who says in the video that Samuel B. Morse, the co-inventor of Morse Code, is his "great grandfather's, grandfather's brother." So instead of an alphabet, Gmail Tap users are given just two keys -- a dot and a dash -- and they can type every word in the alphabet using Morse Code. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/01/gmail-tap-google-april-fools-day_n_1394635.html" target="_hplink">Click here to read more</a> about Gmail Tap.
Google channels the 80s with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/31/google-maps-quest-google-8-bit_n_1393739.html?ref=technology" target="_hplink">Google Maps Quest</a>, an 8-Bit version of Google Maps. Fans of Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest who miss the good 'ol days of NES gameplay will be excited to learn that Google will be offering cartridge versions of Google Maps Quest in the <a href="http://www.googlestore.com/" target="_hplink">Google Store</a>.
Google announced in March 2011 that it had chosen Kansas City, Kansas, as <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/ultra-high-speed-broadband-is-coming-to.html" target="_hplink">the location of a new, super high-speed Fiber network</a> that will provide "Internet access more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today." But the <a href="http://www.google.com/fiber/kansascity/index.html" target="_hplink">Google Fiber</a> of April 1, however, is not that kind of fiber. Instead, it's a "Fiberlicious" bar made from "just the right synthesis" of "psyllium and vitamins C and D." Says Google: "This smarter fiber delivers just what the body needs to sustain activity, energy and productivity up to 100 times more than you have experienced before." Ready for some Google Fiber? <a href="http://www.google.com/fiber/kansascity/index.html" target="_hplink">Click here to learn more</a>.