So you're coming into Minnesota. Congrats! That means you're likely leaving one of four objectively inferior states, possibly by way of 45 other states, all of which are also worse than Minnesota.
Most drivers are met by a humble highway greeting sign, but Google Maps users discover a glitzier ambassador. He's tiny, he's purple, and lord does he ever rock: He's lil' cartoon Prince! Inspired by Prince Rogers Nelson (the late pop superstar who was totally from here), lil' Prince pops onto the screen of folks navigating into Minnesota via Google Maps.
Check him out, in all his Purple Rain-era splendor:
Was this cartoon Prince sighting a cruel April Fools' Day stunt? No, unlike mall pretzel-scented essential oils, this is the real deal. Google confirmed the existence of lil' Prince surprises, thereby saving this reporter a trip to Hudson, Wisconsin.
"We're always looking for creative ways to surprise and delight our users on Google Maps," a Google spokesperson told City Pages.
As it turns out, Google Maps presents users with lots of state-specific greeting gags. In Maine, you'll be welcomed by a lobster man. Visitors to Iowa will discover an American Gothic-evoking corn farmer. Headed to Wisconsin? Prepare yourself for a cheesehead-sporting Packer fan. Disconcertingly, these cartoon greeters are faceless, perhaps a vague allusion to the forthcoming Singularity -- click here to see 'em all!
In other fun Google Maps news, the app just launched a Where's Waldo? mini-game, apparently an April Fools' joke come to (digital) life. In spooky Google news, the supposedly evil-averse tech giant is harvesting mountains of your personal data.
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