Google and Sony Pictures Entertainment have partnered to promote "The Da Vinci Code" and Google Homepage through a time-sensitive, interactive contest.
Beginning Monday at 1pm EDT, Google will release one Da Vinci Code-style puzzle or riddle each day through May 11, and the last puzzle for finalists on May 19, the worldwide release date of the film.
While other Internet giants such as America Online, have typically used synergies with parent companies or other partners to create media promotions of this nature, this marks a significant move for Google.
According to Google spokeswoman Eileen Rodriguez, this is the first time the search giant has ever done a cross-promotional venture tied to the film industry.
The film adaptation of "The Da Vinci Code," based on Dan Brown's best-selling historical-mystery novel, could give Google access to an entirely new base of users.
Participants must enter the contest through the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google Web site, and they must have a Google Gmail account and Google Homepage.
Participants must download the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google content module to their Homepage as part of contest registration. Each new puzzle will be directly linked to the user's Homepage and added to it each day at 1pm EDT.
Since the contest puzzles are time-sensitive, Da Vinci Code enthusiasts will be induced to visit their Google Homepage daily.
The first 10,000 participants who correctly solve all 24 daily puzzles and submit a puzzle completion form will be finalists. Finalists will win a replica of the cryptex described in Dan Brown's book and use the tool to compete in the final phase of the contest, another five time-sensitive puzzles.
The U.S. grand prize winner receives a first-class trip with three guests to each of the prominent locations featured in the movie: Paris, London, Rome and New York. The winner also receives a Sony Electronics package that includes a Bravia LCD television, Sony VAIO laptop, Sony Cyber-shot digital camera, NAV-U portable satellite navigation system, home theater system and four Walkman Core MP3 players.
Google and Sony are holding simultaneous contests for residents of the U.K. and Australia.