MANILA, Philippines — It’s become a tradition for web surfers on the first of April to see what Google has in store for their annual April Fool’s Day prank. In the past few years, we’ve seen them go retro with Google Maps and even “shut down” YouTube last year. This year’s prank has Google partnering with Nintendo to provide a treat for fervent Pokémon fans on the Internet.
“At Google, we seek to hire the most exceptional people. Today we are announcing a new job role and challenge – Pokémon Master. Pokémon Masters are the world’s greatest digital explorers, and their passion for exploring will take our maps to the next dimension,” said the company in a video uploaded to the Google Maps YouTube channel.
According to Brian McClendon, Vice President for Google Maps, “It’s always been important to us to have the most qualified employees at Google. Now, using the technology created by the Google Maps team, we’ve prepared the most rigorous test known to man to find the world’s best Pokémon Master – the Google Maps Pokémon Challenge.”
You can try the Google Pokémon Challenge right now on your mobile device by updating the Google Maps app via the App Store on iTunes or on Google Play. Launch the app, tap the search bar, press “Start,” and begin your quest.
The app will bring you to the “Pokémon Lab” in the middle of Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills district. You can then begin your search for the 150 Pokémon scattered around the world. In a press release, Google advised users, “Leave no stone unturned or city unzoomed as you seek out wild Charizards and Pikachus to add to your Pokédex. Be vigilant—you never know if a wild Steelix will appear in Tokyo, Japan or New York City, USA.”
In the Philippines we found Sptizee and Aggron hanging out by Manila Bay.
The latest update of Google Maps also comes with a Pokédex for you to be able to track how many of the 150 Pokémon you’ve already caught. If you’re having trouble, Google also encourages users to “follow Google Maps on Google+, Facebook and Twitter for hints and tips.
Time is of the essence—in the words of Professor Oak, “The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the Pokémon.”