Google announces 8-bit maps, morse-code Gmail for April Fools

Google announces 8-bit maps, morse-code Gmail for April Fools

This is the Google I love. For April Fool's day, Google announced they were porting their Maps service to... the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Not to be outdone, the Gmail team also announced support for morse code with Gmail Tap.

The Maps team:

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.

It looks great (though Street View is a tad messy) and I hope they keep it around after April Fool's -- I know I'd check it out every time I needed a retro smile. To see it live, just hit the link below or go to http://maps.google.com and click "Quest" in the upper right hand corner of the map.

The Gmail team:

Gmail Tap takes the keyboard from 26 keys to just two. Every letter of the alphabet is represented by a simple pattern of dots and dashes, and once you know them you can type without even looking at your screen. This makes it ideal for situations where you need to discreetly send emails, such as when you're on a date or in a meeting with your boss.

Now excuse me while I go telegraph Gmail the Cowboys and tell 'em the law dogs are coming. And hell's coming with 'em!

Source: Google Maps blog, Gmail blog

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Google announces 8-bit maps, morse-code Gmail for April Fools

38 Comments

Dude! Read the video description! Coming soon to Android AND iOS!!
I can't wait to tap it in the morning, tap it at night and tap it in my bathroom! AWESOME advancement in smart phone technology!!!!!

I agree Rene. It's these little gems that Google releases every now and then that make you smile inside. It shows the fun & quirky side of Google.
"You can say two things with your fingers, that your mouth can only say one of."-HILARIOUS! [gmail tap]
-Rick

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