- Google added a "Where's Waldo?" game to Google Maps for April Fools' Day, "Waldo" announced in a letter published on Google's The Keyword blog. The game, which runs through this week, also includes Waldo's friends Woof, Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard and Odlaw.
- In Google Maps on desktop or updated versions of the Android or iOS app, Waldo will pop out, and when he waves, users can tap on him and press play to start the game. The game can also be accessed via Google Assistant on a smartphone, Chromebook or Home device by asking, "Hey Google, Where's Waldo?"
- Once Waldo is spotted, users will be transported to new locations and can re-start their search. Along the way, "wonderful and wacky" badges are up for grabs when users find Waldo and his friends, the post said. Users that find Waldo are encouraged to screenshot and share it @GoogleMaps on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #WaldoMaps.
Google has previously integrated recognizable pop culture characters into Maps for April Fools' Day. For last year's gag, it created an interactive "Ms. Pac-Man" game, following up on a similar arcade-style stunt in 2015. By integrating Google Assistant into its mobile spin on "Where's Waldo?," Google can better show off its voice assistant this year, which is competing more closely with the likes of Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri and recently expanded its capabilities with location data.
Google earlier this month also partnered with Nintendo to add Mario as a position marker in Maps on Mario Day, March 10. "Where's Waldo?" seems an even more natural fit for the platform, given that the original children's books are based on the idea of carefully combing through different locations to find the titular character.
Along with the game, Google unveiled several April Fools' stunts around the world, according to VentureBeat. Google Australia rebranded itself as "Googz," resulting from an analysis of how people refer to the search engine locally. Files Go added a bad joke detector that will help users easily identify and delete bad jokes. Google is also giving Chromebook users some new ways to power their devices using renewable energy, urging owners to place the device in direct sunlight for 10 minutes for five hours of battery power.