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 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, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 38 comments. Add yours.

Off topic says:

Completely irrelevant to apple. Nice blog!

Frank says:

Lighten up, man. Sheesh!

Off Topic says:

Completely irrelevant to the google parody I'm enjoying. Nice comment.

Sancho90 says:

Let me guess, you must be from Crackberry.

iowahawk19 says:

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!!!!!

WoNGsTeR#IM says:

is that black guy in the gmail tap LL Cool J? looks like him

Funny says:

Yes, yes it is LL Cool J.

Sancho90 says:

Holy crap... That was totally LL.

glazedfaith says:

James Todd Smith, aka LL Cool J

extol4000 says:

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]

Tim says:

... --- ...
C'mon it was begging for it

Karn says:

There are lots of Easter eggs to be found in the form of special sprites for landmarks for special places, such as the White House and Tokyo Tower. Screenshots of some of them are here:
We're still looking for all of them - like exploring the map of an RPG really.

Uska#IM says:

Todd Smith IS ll cool j hahaha that's his real name

Quick5pnt0 says:

I can't wait until Sean Combs sues you for using that stupid name.

Inappropriate Response says:

that's nothing, in the UK the BBC ran this story
"Email and web use 'to be monitored' under new laws"

enectrixx says:

Yeah! Haha! I mean, c'mon, who falls for that joke? Until you realize it isn't a joke...

enectrixx says:

Don't forget Youtube's joke - The Youtube Collection!

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