The digital hunt for Nessie

Google is always looking for creative and enticing ways to get people using its services, and its latest initiative is to give amateur paranormal investigators the power of Google Maps to search for the Loch Ness monster from the comfort of their homes.

Google has updated Street View to include imagery of the 23-mile-long Loch Ness in Scotland as well as sending a team of divers down into its 800-foot depths to capture underwater imagery.

It worked with adam&eveDDB for the initiative and released a clip of the process of mapping Loch Ness while Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness and Morar Project (who claims to have personally collected 1,000 sightings of Nessie) discusses the legend over top of stunning footage of Loch Ness and the surrounding area.

The initiative was in commemoration of the 81st anniversary of the “Surgeon’s photograph”, a fake image which claimed to show the head and neck of the Loch Ness monster.

According to Wired, Google produced “…a new and extensive range of above-water imagery for the project so users can explore the shoreline and look for their own equivalent of the “Surgeon’s photograph” from 1934.”

So now users of Google Maps can discover for themselves whether Loch Ness is a blown-out modern-day myth as most of the scientific community believes, or if there really is an ancient creature lurking in the depths of the lake. Either way, it’s a bit of fun and may even peak interest in Scotland’s tourism.  

Google reports that around 200,000 searches are made each month for the Loch Ness Monster, and that the existing Google Maps images of the Loch Ness “…are among the most popular destinations for armchair visitors to the UK — beating Buckingham Palace and the Peak District,” according to Wired

To mark the release of the images, Google also launched a new 24-hour Google Doodle, featuring Loch Ness as a submarine piloted by aliens.

Last month as part of an April Fool’s trick Google turned Wellington and Auckland streets into a giant game of Pacman. The game could be played in Google Maps on desktop computers or mobile devices that had the latest app update for Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android software.

But these kinds of schemes are nothing new for Google which has been at it since 2000, advertising job opportunities on the moon, introducing fictious drinks and even launching a faux dating service called Google Romance.    

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