Dating world maps
And as much as Google cares about April Fools’ Day, it isn’t anybody’s day job or most essential responsibility.
In the end, the Google Maps team completed most of its heavy lifting on the Waldo game in about six weeks.
Actually, Waldo is making his Google Maps debut because a couple of 23-year-old Google Maps product managers, Max Greenwald and Shreena Thakore, thought it would be cool, and were able to marshal enough resources to make it happen quickly.
Though the game itself is nothing wildly complex–it’s as we’ve always known it, with multiple levels and a dash of interactivity–there were plenty of complications along the way.
Clearly, this company is serious about being foolish, in a way which–for better or worse–has infected the entire internet.
But it turns out that there’s no secret Google brain trust orchestrating this annual companywide barrage of shenanigans.
“It truly makes it accessible to everyone–it’s one of those great properties that you say is for all ages, and in this case that’s really true.”Waldo’s international popularity did introduce a complication: Not everyone knows him as Waldo, a moniker he originally got when his books came to the U. (Even members of the far-flung Google Maps team couldn’t agree on their game’s protagonist’s name: “Folks in Australia kept calling him Wally,” says Thakore.)Greenwald and Thakore’s concept involved sending Waldo and his cohorts on a world tour plotted out in Google Maps, giving players the ability to earn badges as they found characters.Some of the initial ideas they spitballed included a mode that would calculate how long it would take a snail to travel to a particular destination, and having directions be recited by Morgan Freeman rather than the app’s standard canned voice.Ultimately, however, they concluded that anything that disrupted basic functionality might be unwelcome.Some intriguing possibilities–the Louvre, the Mariana Trench–fell out of contention for one reason or another.Among those that made it into the game are Surfer’s Paradise Beach in Australia; the Pyeong Chang Olympic Stadium in South Korea; and Buñol, Spain’s La Tomatina, an annual festival that involves everybody flinging tomatoes at each other. Google wants to keep some of the levels as surprises, and has scattered Easter eggs throughout as rewards for ardent players.