Google joined in on the April Fools' Day fun a day early with their latest feature: Treasure Maps. Following last year's prank, 8-bit Google Maps, the company debuted a pirate-style design on Sunday, complete with 2D hand-drawn landmarks and hidden treasure chests.
The map uses a spyglass to zoom in for Street View, with a rounded telescopic frame and old-school filter. To access, visit Google Maps and click on the “Treasure” picture icon in the right-hand corner. Instructions for the “beta technology” warn, “Your system may not be able to display at higher resolutions than paper print.”
In a video, Google explains the map belonged to infamous pirate William “Captain” Kidd, and was found on a recent expedition in the Indian Ocean while the team was expanding their underwater Street View collection. Users are invited to help crack the code and find the treasure with hidden clues.
Some locations, like Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay and San Jose State University, have mini maps and a letter X marking the spot. There are other icons scattered around with map coordinates, including Bermuda, New York, and Boston. Happy hunting!
The map was found on a recent expedition in the Indian Ocean, as part of a deep-water dive to expand our underwater Street View collection. Captain Kidd was rumored to have buried his treasure around the world, and tales of a long-lost treasure map have lingered for generations.
When Dr. Marco Meniketti, an independent archaeologist, confirmed that this was Captain Kidd's 315 year-old map, we were very excited. However, as seen in the video, the map contains a variety of encrypted symbols and is not readily decipherable. We need your help to decipher these symbols and find Captain Kidd's treasures; therefore we've decided to digitize the map and make it accessible to everyone.
Be sure to follow the Google Maps G+ page as we work together to decipher the clues to Captain Kidd's buried secrets.