Mario can now guide your route in Google Maps

Sarah Perez
TechCrunch

It's Mario Time! Beloved gaming character Mario is coming to Google Maps, thanks to a partnership between Google and Nintendo ahead of Mario Day, March 10. (MAR10...get it, Mario?) In addition to the various deals and sales on Nintendo games, the mustachioed plumber will also make an appearance in Google Maps' navigation, if you opt in to have Mario accompany you on your journey.

The feature, which Google announced this morning, is available in the latest update in the Google Maps app on both iOS and Android.

After entering in your destination, you'll notice a yellow question mark "?" icon at the bottom right of the app's screen. Tap this, and you'll get a prompt to enable "Mario Time."

From then on, the navigation arrow in Google Maps will instead be Mario - who, in his little red go-kart, will then be your companion for your entire trip. The integration will be available for a full week, says Google, so you can enjoy using Mario for longer than just on Mario Day alone.

You can also choose to screenshot your route and share it to @GoogleMaps on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #MarioMaps, Google suggests. But of course, don't share personal details like your work or home address, if you do so.

This isn't the first time Google has had a little fun with Google Maps, as you may recall.

The company has in the past unleashed Pac-Man on city streets in Maps, let Google Maps streetview users go inside Doctor Who's TARDIS, and has let you travel by Loch Ness Monster, among other things. Plus, Google and Nintendo have worked together before on silly stuff like this, as with the April Fool's day prank involving the "launch" of Google Maps 8-bit for NES.

But in this case, adding Mario to Maps feels more like a brand advertisement, rather than just a fun trick. We asked Google if that was the case. However, a company spokesperson confirmed that no money exchanged hands in its business deal with Nintendo.

The Mario feature will begin rolling out today - so make sure you've got you've got the latest version of Google Maps installed if you want to try it out.

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