Online advertising wouldn’t be quite what it is today if it wasn’t for Google, that much is clear. However, the American tech company also works in other, much more subtle ways when it comes to promoting products and services, as the latest Google Maps Easter egg clearly demonstrates. Starting today, the standard “street view” icon that usually looks like a yellow guy and can be found in the bottom right corner of Google Maps UI got a small redesign and is now wearing a green outfit and wielding a sword. If you have any kind of gaming background, you’ll probably figure out that this is a reference to The Legend of Zelda’s eternal protagonist Link. Despite the visual redesign, the new street view icon still functions like the old one, which means you can click or tap it and drag it down any road or mapped path in order to witness it wander around the world map and get to see its point-of-view.
Naturally, due to related copyrights, this almost certainly isn’t a pro bono Easter egg independently made by Google, but a marketing stunt that was planned and executed in cooperation with Nintendo. In case you weren’t aware, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, a remaster of the 2006 action-adventure for Nintendo Wii was released on Wii U earlier today and Nintendo is currently aggressively marketing it. This isn’t the first gaming-related gag Google Maps pulled on us, as last year we got the chance to play the original Pac-Man game for April Fools’ Day. This is also just one of many Easter eggs scattered through Google’s online products. In case you want to see more, try typing “do a barrel roll” or “zerg rush” in to the Google search engine for some funny references to Star Fox 64 and StarCraft.
This naturally isn’t a permanent change to Google Maps and it’s likely things will return back to normal as early as tomorrow. After street-viewing Link, the aforementioned Pac-Man gag, and the hilarious homage to the original Chevy Chase movie Vacation Google Maps featured last year, it’s exciting to wonder what kind of shenanigans Google has up its sleeve for this year’s April Fools’ Day which is less than a month away now.