Google Maps is becoming notorious for its real life Easter eggs, but a recent discovery has even Google baffled. Apparently a hacker has gone in and left a cat in the online mapping service.
When Google discovered the hack, New Zealand head of communications Annie Baxter admitted she didn’t know how it got there.
“We were aware that cats were trying to take over YouTube, but we didn’t [realize] it was extending to Google Maps. We’re looking into this.”
Google has since removed the first appearance of the mysterious cat, which was shown as a series of roads outlining the shape of a furry one, only to have a nearby path renamed “RIP Google Cat.”
The spot on the map service where the hacker’s work had been spotted was directly north of the Parnell Cricket Club in New Zealand, with its tail being a branch off of the Hobson Bay Walkway. The cat was basic enough, and probably isn’t the only one on the mapping service. While this one was spotted with merely a collar, a Reddit user’s friend admitted to drawing the cat over days, adding whiskers and everything.
Reddit user Poik12 even bragged about the rogue Google cat, posting an early picture on Facebook with the caption “Spot the goose!”
One theory about how this is happening is that Google allows users to add hiking trails in case they forgot one or it was added after their last survey of the site. Hackers appear to be taking advantage of this tool and could be putting cats in places around the world, according to Mirror.
Google doesn’t advise it though. They have more important things to do than haunt their mapping service and remove fictitious trails drawn in to resemble felines. They prefer that you keep the cats on YouTube and in various memes like those made famous for wanting a cheeseburger.
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) October 27, 2014
It’s doubtful that hackers will stop though, and the “Google cat” will likely move on to someplace else or even appear in a more complex series of walkways resembling a kitten in a box or playing with yarn. They do it because it’s amusing, and Google Maps will undoubtedly be combating the respawning of cats for a while now as hackers attempt to copy the first one.
It’s official. Cats have been taking over the internet from the beginning, and now they may just be cropping up all over Google Maps.
The big question now is whether or not Google will remove the ability to add hiking trails in an effort to stop hackers.