New Google Game Tests Your Geography Skills

by Stephanie Hayes

If you’d like a friendly reminder that you have no idea where things happened in history, you should try your hand at Smarty Pins, Google’s new map-based trivia game, which was quietly released on Tuesday. Be warned: it's actually pretty addictive.

The game tests your geographical knowledge by posing a series of questions with locations for answers. For instance: “This is the city called home by Echo and the Bunnymen, The Wombats, A Flock of Seagulls, and The Beatles.” (Correct response: Liverpool). You submit your answer by dropping a pin onto the world map.

Your score is tallied in miles (very cute, Google). You start with 1000 miles in the bank, and you can add up to 15 bonus points to your score each round if you have some seriously nimble fingertips and good location-based knowledge. But, if you thought The Beatles were from London or something equally foolish (whoops), the miles between your wrong response and the correct answer will be deducted from your score. To stop you from losing with a single pin, Google zooms in to a portion of the world map to narrow the possible response pool. If you're still struggling, you can accept a handy hint. (Unfortunately, this kind feature can also work to make you feel even more geographically oblivious).


The whole experience is added to by Google's friendly little cartoons, which range from pharaohs to mad scientists. When you respond incorrectly, they gently inform you of your ineptitude using map-related puns. When you're respond correctly, they encourage you to adopt the nickname "Mappy McMapperson." As you tally up correct answers, your pin color changes from red, to bronze, to silver, to gold.


There are six different categories, allowing you to select the realm where you feel most comfortable. These include: Arts & Culture, Entertainment, History & Current Events, Science & Geography, Sport & Games, and a Feature Topics category. Today’s featured topics are “March Madness” and “World Cup Trivia.”

You can share your score on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Or, in my case, close the window and hope this doesn't become the new Candy Crush.