Pokémon Go, the augmented reality game that has completely taken over your Facebook newsfeed, was actually just an April Fools’ joke at Google over two years ago.
Back in 2014, Google released a video titled “Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge.” The video, published on March 31 on YouTube, was essentially a hiring ad for Google introducing a fake system for catching Pokémon all over the world using augmented reality.
The video opens:
“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 […]
“Applicants must explore all types of terrain with google maps on their iphone or android to find each and everyone of the wild Pokémon.”
Google was also a big investor in the production of Pokémon Go. Coincidentally, Niantic Labs, the developer behind Pokémon Go, was originally a part of Google. Niantic was the gaming department of Google’s holding company called Alphabet. The location-based gaming developer was responsible for Google’s popular game Ingress, reports The Guardian.
Ingress, which functions on Android and iOS, involved players fighting a worldwide battle by checking into locations nearby. Pokémon Go was apparently built upon the same data that was used for Ingress.
Niantic’s CEO, John Hanke, revealed that work on Pokémon Go started in early 2014.