By the time anyone reads this, they'll presumably already have gotten the news about Google Treasure Maps. It's kind of clever, though "street view" is certainly the best part of it. Anyway: the map has a number of landmarks on it in little hand-drawn icons, but it's also got some sort of random pictures with numbers written on them. This was immediately apparent to me and my wife, since one of them, a locket, is in Boston, which comes up as a default location for us; there's also one in lower Manhattan, so it wouldn't exactly be very secret for long, even if the promo video didn't mention them. (I only just saw the video half an hour ago or so.)
The numbers around the locket were clearly a latitude and longitude, and indeed when we put those into the map, we found a place in Spain with another picture (this time a dinner place setting?) and another pair of numbers, which took us to the middle of the Indian Ocean, where a scimitar took us to New Zealand, where there was a ring (get it?) that...anyway, after about eight steps, it ended near Calgary, with a cameo inside a red O. We also found the skull in Manhattan, which after eight steps ended with a compass in Kagoshima, pointed downward to form a rough A; and a skull-and-swords in the Caribbean, which ended up with an L-shaped axe in Nunavut.
Other major population centers, though, like Tokyo, London, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc., didn't turn up any new starting points, so Michelle went to bed, and I kept poking at it. I found one not too far from London that led to an R-shaped rope. Eventually, though, I found the video, which has images of a number of icons (not in their correct places on the map, but with the lat/long for the next location visible), and I went ahead and followed some of those.
I ended up getting an O, an L, and a P before deciding that this did indeed confirm where I thought it was going: these letters apparently spell out APRIL FOOLS.
So. Really? You take the time to program Treasure Maps, you draw a hundred little markers, you scatter them everywhere from Kilkenny to the China/Kyrgyzstan border to the Galapagos to Botswana, and the best you can come up with is "April Fools", which is to say roughly "thanks for bothering, but there's nothing interesting here, and you've just wasted your time"? I mean, put in some sort of payoff. A clever message, a final set of coordinates that give you Google HQ, a URL that takes you to a making-of video, something.
And I think that's why I hate April Fools' Day. Yeah, I make stuff up, but they're one-off little jokes, and they aren't anything that anyone's going to spend time worrying about or otherwise engaged in. Pranks that waste people's time? That's just stupid.
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