Google has been announcing a lot of April Fools' jokes as usual, but Google Maps Treasure Mode is actually something of a game, and Google is calling on users to play along.
"Archeological analysis has confirmed that our Google Maps Street View team has indeed found one of history’s long lost relics: a treasure map belonging to the infamous pirate, William 'Captain' Kidd," says Google Maps software engineer Tatsuo Nomura in a blog post. "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," adds Nomura. "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."