Each year, Google I/O brings together developers from across the world. To generate anticipation for the event, the date, and location are released through a playful and nerdy teaser. For 2019, we did the only reasonable thing: create an experience centered on a bizarre poem, a cryptic video, and bezier mathematics.
A math oddity
The goal of each year’s event teaser is to engage and challenge the developer community. This year, Google challenged us to make this year’s puzzle even more difficult to solve than previous years. With this in our hearts and minds, we drew on the beauty of math and challenge of cryptography to design bezier control point decryption. Our multi-disciplinary team dove in deep together to craft an experience that is both mathematically sound and visually compelling. It’s also just odd enough to pique the interest of developers.
“What the %@*! did i just watch”
A cryptic tweet from Google led to a page with a lone video on it. The video, an unusual visual poem of seemingly robotic origins, contains all the clues necessary to find a set of bezier curves and solve the key hidden within them.
Anyone else cracked #io19 secret transmission? I am halfway there. 👩💻 "the answer you seek in the sum of your journey to the horizon and to the stars you will find in the remains of the longest path and the depth of the ocean" @googledevs pic.twitter.com/7SdSKBlQ9L— Nithya Pari (@nithyapari) January 26, 2019
Rallying a community.
The cryptic nature of this year’s video led to a lot of speculation and hilarious commentary across the developers community. The puzzle did what we aimed for it to do: harness the community’s diverse skills and connect them together to solve a fun challenge. Thousands participated, with 37 brilliant people in 4 countries solving it (without sneaking the answer). Try it yourself or follow this spoiler link to see how it works.