Google made a significant technology announcement today introducing Google Maps for NES. Nintendo’s NES gaming console sold 61.91 million times, which is very close to the XBOX 360’s 65.8 million sold units. With this strategic investment, it will make Google Maps the leading solution on gaming devices.

We’re constantly making improvements to Google Maps in order to take advantage of better hardware and web standards. For example, last October we launched MapsGL to capitalize on the improved graphics capabilities offered by WebGL.

In our pursuit of new digital frontiers, we realized that we may have left behind a large number of users who couldn’t access Google Maps on their classic hardware. Surprisingly, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was unsupported, despite its tremendous popularity with over 60 million units sold worldwide.

Our engineering team in Japan understood the importance of maps on retro game systems. With the power of Google’s immense data centers, and support from Nintendo and Square Enix, we were able to overcome the technical and design hurdles of developing 8-bit maps. Today, we’re excited to announce the result: a version of Google Maps for NES, with beautiful low-res graphics, simple and intuitive controls, and a timeless soundtrack. [via Google Maps blog]

Google seems to be very serious about this announcement – the service will be supported by more than hundred thousand servers.

It not only features a comprehensive 8-bit navigation system, but full voice recognition, and a network adaptor integrated in the actual cartridge.

It also provides an accurate street view converted to the new platform, seemingly optimized for the NES Ricoh 2A03 8-bit processor. It’s an impressive move forward, and an engineering masterpiece given that NES lacks an HTML5 enabled browser. And amazingly affordable for everyone, which will certainly lead to mass adoption – a NES console is available for as much as $20 on eBay.

A free trial is available as part of the regular Googles Maps online service.