This shadowy something is what some people say is the Loch Ness monster in Scotland. (AP file)

The legend of the Loch Ness monster has captured people's imaginations for more than 1,000 years and shows no signs of waning.

There are more Google searches for the alleged creature today than there are for famous British institutions such as Buckingham Palace and the Peak District, the company revealed.

The "Google Doodle" for April 21. (Google)

[Loch Ness Monster: Google Doodle plumbs the depths of our fevered fascination]

In response to the demand, Google is rewarding the cryptozoologists in all of us by making it possible to search for "Nessie" using Google Street View.

Google's announcement coincided with the 81st anniversary of the "Surgeons Photograph," an iconic image that appeared to show the ancient-looking reptile bobbing in the water, but was later revealed to be an elaborate hoax. Since then, many scientists have pointed out the sheer improbability -- if not impossibility -- of Nessie's existence. But that hasn't stopped the world from looking, and now Google is diving in.

With the help of Adrian Shine, who heads the Loch Ness and Morar Project, a team from Google mounted a 360-degree camera on a boat and captured images of the lake every 2.5 seconds, according to the Atlantic. The team also took underwater photos in the murky 800-foot lake, allowing monster hunters to scour above the water and below.

Street View program manager Deanna Yick told Atlantic that Shine, who has investigated more than 1,000 Loch Ness sightings, helped team members examine the photos.

"There are some very interesting images where the way the light hits the waves on the water, you're not really sure," she said. (Yick's take on the question of Nessie's existence: "I believe anything is possible.")

As for the Street View experience, Google gets downright romantic in its description:

"Sail across the freshwater lake and take in its haunting beauty, made darker still by the peat particles found in its waters. Let the Loch unlock the spirit of your imagination, where the rippling water, tricks of the light, and drifting logs bring the legend of Nessie to life."

If Google's description of the massive lake is any indication, researchers have a lot of exploring to do:

Formed of a series of interrelated bodies of water, including the River Oich to the south and the Bona Narrows to the north, Loch Ness stretches for 23 miles southwest of Inverness. Although it’s neither the largest Scottish loch by surface area nor depth, it is the largest by volume, containing more freshwater than all the lakes of England and Wales combined.

"We knew that at Loch Ness, because of the peat content of the water, which makes it more murky than normal, that it would be difficult to see," Yick told the Atlantic. "That adds to the experience."

Or, it means you'll spend the next few months of your life clicking through a lot of olive green.


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