31
Mar
catchem

The kids who obsessed about Nintendo's Pokémon in the late 1990s are now the up-and-comers at some of the world's biggest technology companies. If you don't believe us, then check out the following video:

Yup, Google is back to its April 1st tricks, and they're going all-out this year. The video sets up an augmented reality game that lets you go out into the world and catch "real" Pokémon through you phone's camera. That's the April Fool's joke. But since this is Google, it doesn't just end with the video - as of right now, Google Maps on Android and iOS is actually populated with Pokémon creatures all over the world. Zoom in to major cities and you'll see Nintendo's little critters hanging out on the standard map view (you have to zoom in really far). Some places, like the Google headquarters, also have pixelated buildings overlaid on the map.

2014-03-31 16.06.38

Tap a Pokémon and you can "catch" it, adding it to your own personal Pokedex (a monster catalog from the game series). "Catching" a Pokémon will populate your Pokedex with a portrait, game-accurate statistics, and flavor text. Pokémon fans, feel free to go completely nuts.

2014-03-31 15.49.21 2014-03-31 15.49.28 2014-03-31 15.49.35

There are 150 Pokémon that can be caught, though we're seeing some of them that aren't from the original Red/Blue/Yellow generations. You can get back to your Pokedex by tapping the Search field while it's empty. The location of each Pokémon is not searchable, but they're persistent, showing up in the same places for each user. That means it should be possible for players to work together and catalog locations for each Pokémon. That's right - you can catch 'em all. If you can't find a Pokémon near you location, search for "Googleplex" and zoom in. There are a bunch of them just waiting to be caught.

Thanks, Eirik!

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Leonard Wong

    OMG!! This is so wild and awesome.
    Google always best in making these jokes for April's Fools

  • Frank Barten

    39/150 caught! Good one this year haha ;)

    • Danny365

      Beat ya'!

      • Marcell Lévai

        I was hoping for at least an achievement in Google Play games tho :|

      • ashutos jain

        What's the location of chespin and fennekin ?

      • F V

        Was there any Mew? Im just looking for Mew and will then drop the ball

      • http://www.virtuaniz.com/ Akshat Mittal
        • Danny365

          Grr.

        • Luis Felipe Londoño

          Con you help me to find Mew?

          • Kitter Bunny

            amazon river

        • wardrich

          Not sure if legit, or an April Fool's joke of an April Fool's joke :

    • Danny365

      Beat ya'!

    • Danny365

      Beat ya'!

  • Mike D

    Why is this not in Leeds? :(

    • Leonardo Farage Freitas

      It would be awesome playing against other people using AR.. :P

      And.. if it used AR

    • MrJamesBrown

      There is one in Cardiff btw :)

      • Rúben Santos

        One in Lisbon, another in Oporto, pleanty near CERN

    • Ricardo Ferreira

      Go to Galapagos Islands.. There are several there.

    • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

      LOL...geocaching...then you literally had to travel around the globe to get it,,

  • Mayoo

    This will be useful then

  • Steve Norman

    I don't have the update yet.

    • Ibrahim Yusuf

      you don't need it

      • Steve Norman

        Then there must not be any Pokemon within 10 miles of my office in Los Angeles. Seems odd...

        • Brandon David Obert

          There's a Miltank in Downtown Columbus, Ohio

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      There is no update. It's right in the current app.

  • someone755

    Hope this stays in the app forever.

    • moose

      it expires on april 2

      • someone755

        NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo!!!!!!!

        At least I didn't get my hopes up. :l

    • No_Nickname90

      I'll just keep a version of that app.

      • someone755

        What if it's another one of those server-controlled bullshits?
        Like the *cool* Facebook UI...

        • Crispin Swickard

          Seems to be the case.

      • Franco Rossel

        It's a server side thing, that's why it didn't show up in the APK teardowns.

        • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

          the power of them cloudz.

  • Jaime

    Omg omg omg! *faints*

  • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

    Fun fact: the maps of the various regions in the Pokemon games are based on real locations in Japan. Once you catch a Pokemon on Google Maps, its little Pokeball icon looks a lot like the Pokedex location page from the games.

    • TY

      And France (X/Y) and New York City (B/W)

      • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

        Huh. I didn't know they expanded. Gold & Silver 4eva.

        • Richard

          Correction: Red & Blue 4eva.

        • Richard

          Correction: Red & Blue 4eva.

        • Richard

          Correction: Red & Blue 4eva.

  • Ashutos Don Jain

    11 caught :D

  • Henry Green

    yes.......

    • wardrich

      [BREATHING INTENSIFIES]

  • vyktorsouza

    Pikachu randomly jumping during the disclaimer made me crackle :'D

  • Eternalwisdom

    Gotta love Google

  • ANT

    How do you get this on your Google maps ?

    • http://www.fullmoonblog.com/ Flatlinebb

      Did you even bother reading the article, or looking at the video?

  • Tomáš Petrík

    I've got 56 yet.

  • Ricardo A. Fragoso

    OMG...!

  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    Interesting enough, some Pokemon show up in more than one place. I'm pretty sure I caught 2 Dragonite, one near the Google Plex and the other right where "Loch Ness" shows up (Was expecting Lapras :P ).

    • Ricardo A. Fragoso

      Yeeah! Just found 4 Stunkfish (pfff!) near pokemon lab!

    • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

      just like the real pokemon game..

  • RenatoFontesTapia

    I FUCKING LOVE GOOGLE

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    I fucking love Google for these things

  • ari_free

    this can only mean one thing: android on nintendo coming???

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Nintendo WiiU: Google Play Edition

  • James Aaron Anteola

    its worldwide! just caught a pokemon in Manila! cant believe they included us! thanks google!

  • Fishes

    Hope they bring this to the knowledge graph as well, a la Wolfram Alpha

  • Ty

    There goes my productivity for the day...

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

    Someone please, make this augmented reality happen furrealz.
    Please.

  • Roger Tyson

    "When April Fool's Turns Tragic":

    Sure, it's all fun and games...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9xWdeWtHag

    ...until somebody REALLY gets hurt!

    [Note: The above is actually a 1 minute COMEDY video!]

  • Adam Wright

    Tokyo, Paris, Rome, Sao Paulo (Brazil), Los Angeles, San Fransisco, New York City. Still looking for more.

    • http://www.fullmoonblog.com/ Flatlinebb

      Mt Everest, Central Park, Liberty Island, The White House. 62 caught and counting.

      • nxtiak

        Half Dome at Yosemite, Honolulu hawaii, Moloaa Forest Reserve on Kaui Hawaii, actually several on Kauai

        • Jessix

          Stockholm, Makati Chicago

          • Android Developer

            I've found 2 in Israel - Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

      • nxtiak

        Las Vegas, at the Bellagio

      • Matthew Fry

        London. Disneyland. Disney World.

      • Xemion

        stonehenge

        • http://www.fullmoonblog.com/ Flatlinebb

          Panama Canal, The Pyramids.

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        Vesuvius

    • MrJamesBrown

      London has a bunch.

    • Android Developer

      How did you know where to look for them?

      • http://www.fullmoonblog.com/ Flatlinebb

        Just guess. After a while, it becomes more obvious.

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      Lock Ness

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      There's a ton in Sydney, along with another home base.

  • Twilightlicous

    I can't find the apk or update

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      There isn't one. It's the same app with the same version.

  • DeadSOL

    I love Google!

  • Woosh

    For those who like the concept, I suggest you try Mobbles ( http://www.mobbles.com ) it's an iPhone/Android app based on this concept.

  • Chris

    Nothing in Detroit :/ The pokemon are too scared to be here.

    • Georgea

      Not true! I've found 4 in Michigan, 1 was in Detroit.

      • George

        where?

        • Georgea

          Michigan locations
          Steelix- Ann Arbor by U of M law
          Cyndaquil- Hell Patterson Lake Rd
          Dragonite- Romulus airport
          Jigglypuff- Detroit at 75 and m10

        • Georgea

          Michigan locations
          Steelix- Ann Arbor by U of M law
          Cyndaquil- Pinckney on Patterson Lake Dr.
          Dragonite- Metropolitan airport
          Jigglypuff- Detroit at 75 and M10

          • Georgea

            Also just found Aegislash- Schwab Rd in Bay City

  • Adam Wright

    boo, there are duplicates I've noticed. I'm stuck at 54/150 right now and catching more doesn't increase that amount

    • Henry Green

      And you expected becoming a pokemon master would be EASY?!

      • Adam Wright

        lol

  • Wen Zhi

    5 pokemons captured so far :D

    • BehelitOutlaw

      110 :p

  • Matthew Fry

    I found a Snorlax blocking the road! (I-280) :-P

    • Marianne Peralta

      where on I-280??

      • Matthew Fry

        Southwest of Google I think. Can't remember...

  • NaNNy`

    Search for Lock Ness ;)

    • NaNNy`

      Loch Ness...

      • http://www.fullmoonblog.com/ Flatlinebb

        And CERN, and Google HQ in various countries, like Japan and Australia.

        • Luis Felipe Londoño

          Which city of japan? And please the cities of Google HQ

  • Frank Barten
    • Android Developer

      you can have "Gyarados" if you seach in Israel - "Tel Aviv" . Also, please sort the data according to the number of the pokemons, and remove empty lines...

    • Johannes

      a bunch of pokemons are in sidney!

    • http://saschamayr.com Sascha Mayr

      A Gengar and an Aggron can be found at Vienna - Schönbrunn

  • Intruder7s

    At 5 Pokemon it shows Pichu. 25 shows Pikatchu and 75 shows Raichu. What do you think 150 will show ???

    • Expresso

      Zapdos. Or Bicycle Shop (I prefer the latter)

      • brunodmjr

        Lord Helix.

        • Jeremy L

          You deserve a cookie. I laughed.

    • Guest

      *SPOILER ALERT*
      .
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      .
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      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
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      There won't be a fourth character, it will just show a team of a few pokemon, with Pikachu in the middle. ;)

  • Jonathan Zelayandia

    Wtf was that flip-style device thing the guy was using when he "saw" pikachu?!?!

    • SupahNin10doh

      That was 2 Galaxy Nexus put together.
      But seriously wtf is the update and APK?

      • perfectlyreasonabletoo

        There's no update, it's just there.

  • Android Developer

    What would people who won this really get ?

  • Brad

    I feel like this has to be a tie in of some sort because it's not as insane as the past pranks have been...

  • Sharla Heiser

    I've got a Droid 2. I updated Google Maps, but there is no pokeball when I tap start. Anyone know what else I need to do? D:

    • Marcell Lévai

      You have to be on at least Ice Cream Sandwich. If you are... I don't know then.

      • Sharla Heiser

        Ahh, there's the problem. It's too old after all. Thanks, man!

    • Marcell Lévai

      You have to be on at least Ice Cream Sandwich. If you are... I don't know then.

  • unhappybirthday

    If Pikachu gets anywhere close to my portals I'm gonna hit him with a level 8 XMP.

  • Nomaan

    Anybody tried this?

    • Intruder7s

      122/150

    • Android Developer

      yes, many have , as you can see here in the comments.

    • Android Developer

      how did you do it?

    • wardrich

      Doesn't seem to exist with Chrome Beta :(

  • geeq

    Check the European capitals, there's a few there, too

  • Andre Berthiaume

    Stuck at 96 :(

  • Squiddles

    Is there actually an AR portion to this like in the video? Or is it just the maps? Either way I'm front seat on the hype train!

    • anna

      What do you mean when you say AT. Like the state.

      • Squiddles

        Augmented Reality.

  • Marc Edwards

    like, i know it's an april fools and what not... but that would be pretty epic as a game.

  • John
    • Android Developer

      what happens now?

  • AbbyZFresh

    Meanwhile at Tim Cook's Office: *playing checkers with iPhones as pieces*

  • Android Developer

    Why can't I see the pokemons via Google street view ?
    could be so awesome ...

  • Epic Tea

    One of the many Reasons Google is a Boss.

  • ashutos jain

    112/150 done :D

  • http://www.WildNerd.com/ Matthias Psencik

    Roppongi Hills - also go East and West of there

  • King Antonius

    Gah! Can't edit the stupid spreadsheet!
    #32 Raichu/ Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

  • Athishay

    Hey people, caught all 150 Pokémon, only change is that the banner with pichu pikachu raichu on it changes to a banner with a bunch of other Pokémon. It was fun though! :D

  • phantomzx

    i have a g2 and it's not coming up for me

  • ED-Z が あらわれた!

    I'll be very, very, VERY angry if this is just an April Fools joke.

  • perfectlyreasonabletoo

    Stuck at 145. Can't find 18, 26, 34, 106, 129.

    • Tongid

      Number 26 is Lapras, I found one at Tokushima-Japan

  • Phantomzx

    Does this not work on a g2?

  • Chris Carry

    I cant seem to start or see any pokemon. Im updated to the latest version. Im on Android on
    An LG motion.

  • imartificial

    I found taillow in kathmandu nepal

  • Tomáš Petrík
  • https://twitter.com/jrummy16 Jared Rummler

    Here is an app I made to help you find them: https://plus.google.com/101898662480093123223/posts/S5BZFFg1T7T

    • Kostas

      Cool :)

    • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=20311621 Pandemic187

      Oh jrummy...you are the best.

  • JTD

    I caught all 150 and nothing happened. Not even a congrats. :( Serious.

    • perfectlyreasonabletoo

      You have to find Mew first.

      • Mariann

        Where on earth is Mew?!

        • perfectlyreasonabletoo

          He's only in one place as far as I can see, so I'm not telling! :-D

  • Ryan

    Nice.

  • Manny

    Its not working on my phone

    • ivy

      Mine too. Samsung Galaxy S4. It works fine in my iphone but not my Samsung. Anyone else? Or thoughts for a fix??

  • WhyWai

    that's fun

  • eddypc07

    Here is a list where you can find all the pokemon locations :) http://googlemapspokemon.wikia.com/wiki/Sorted_by_Pokedex_No

  • Luis Felipe Londoño

    I caught 'em all!

    • perfectlyreasonabletoo

      If you found them all it would read 151/150, you can only see Mew at a very close zoom level.

      • Luis Felipe Londoño

        Can you help me to find Mew?

  • Michael J Carroll

    Did anyone else notice GARField Park?

  • jackrabbit

    what about the job opening thing? is that a joke too?

  • Αντώνης Σαρρής

    what version of android you must have

  • anna

    Let me guess this does no work if your mobile device does not have a camera right.

  • Sam

    -2.98,-58.49
    For Mew

  • Sam

    -2.98,-58.49
    For Mew

  • Pokemon1124

    I can't update! I want this so bad :'(

  • Emily Robins

    Google had a 48.2% share in total US mobile ad revenues by the end of 2013 and The share is expected to reach 50.6% by 2015. http://bit.ly/google-is-it-in

  • Jaime

    And there goes Tuesday productivity...
    April 1st 2014... the least productive day in history..

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    It doesn't sync between devices which is kind of annoying. I have all 151 on my tablet, but far fewer on my phone. Also implies the results aren't tied to your account, which suggests any hopes anyone had of this being part of a real contest of some sort are probably dead.

  • Matthew Elder

    Is it only on April 1st?

  • Daniel

    Does this work for the mytouch q

  • Deuce

    I beat this now what

  • Peter Janssen

    I need help, when I open the app, it doesn't say "start"

  • Danial De

    Why computer can't play google map pokemon challenge!!!!!!!!

    • Danial De

      Why!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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