Google Earth Promotes Netflix Carmen Sandiego By Turning The Workday Browser Into A Gumshoe

Not just for looking at those cats in the ruins, anymore!

Thanks to a fortuitous tweet in my morning feed, I discovered a small treat being delivered to the world via everyone’s favorite data collection giant, At the bottom of the main search page, you will notice a single sentence with an embedded link:

“Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego?”

And, folks, it is exactly what you think it is. After loading Google Earth, favorite timewaster choice of distinguished users like my dad, a splash screen for the game pops up featuring the Carmen Sandiego from the recently rebooted Netflix adaptation. She’s mysterious, clad all in red, and apparently she’s stolen the crown jewels of England!

google maps carmen sandiego mission

You track Carmen by visiting three iconic locations in each city, gathering clues from tourists and passersby who managed to sneak a glimpse of the infamous interloper. Conveniently, everyone provides information that pertains to her next destination, like what currency she exchanged for, the flag on the plane she took, or even name-dropping famous locations. Once you feel confident in your selection, catch a plane to one of several metropolitan centers to see if you can continue the trail, ultimately closing the gap between you and Carmen.

It’s not a long game: I finished in the space of ten minutes, which included time exploring cities beyond the three landmarks of note. But I think that’s the point. How often do any of us (besides my dad) load up Google Earth and take a virtual spin around our 3D-mapped globe. I’m sure someone was thrilled when that Roman cat went viral for a spell, but the Carmen Sandiego game is interactive and a fun accompaniment to the morning’s cup of coffee.

google maps carmen sandiego info pane

With only one predetermined route thus far, don’t expect much in the way of replayability. Also, for a game whose goal has always been hiding education and geography in a dramatic cartoon coating, there’s precious little information about the places you visit. If Google continues to promote the Netflix show with another caper, I hope they offer players a chance to be more than glorified tourists with a detective’s badge.


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About Chase Carter

Chase is a journalist and media scholar interested in fan communities and how they communicate. He loves reading, cooking and his two cat sons very much.
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