Friday, April 2, 2010

April Fools’ Day Pranks on the Internet Revealed

A few of the obligatory April Fools’ Day pranks tech firms will roll out today will be funny. Some will be believable. To confirm the jokes, and help you avoid endless “Did you see this” emails, we’re rounding them up here.


In the Google-verse

Google goes bananas on April 1. Every big department, and some small, gets their shot at adding a “new service” or “killer feature” to their products. If you see something announced on a Google blog today, unless you’re in a time machine and it’s about Gmail in 2004, chances are, it’s not true. Here are the notable Google pranks:
  • Google Voice Standard Mode
    It’s funny because when I call my friends’ non-Google-Voice numbers, I really do get prompts for “numeric pages”—which just texts that person the number I just called from.
  • Google Translate for Animals
    Funny joke, sure—but Google actually released an Android app in the Market that pretends to listen and provide English translations. It’s probably right that my Rubenesque cat is asking, “Please, sir, may I have some more?”
  • Watch YouTube videos in “TEXTp”

Certain videos on YouTube have a “TEXTp” option on the resolution picker, which converts the video to ASCII-type text display. The apex of this prank is watching the “Trololo” video in text.

  • “A different kind of company name”
    Google announces their corporate name change to “Topeka,” a play on the most notable publicity stunt to draw Google’s attention for its gigabit internet trials. Topeka Docs? Topeka Wave? Topeka Translate, actually, sounds like the most fun.

  • Google Wave Wave Notifications

  • As in, Dr. Wave will actually stop and wave at you in the real world when you’ve got a wave. Not bad.

  • Upload and store anything in the cloud with Google Docs So, like, if you lose your keys, they could be in Google Docs, somehow. Ha.

  • Google Annotations Gallery Rachel writes in with this Google Code tool, the GAG, that lets developers write more descriptive Java code comments—like, say, @LOL and @Facepalm

  • Google Maps: 3D Goggles View

  • streetview

    Everywhere else

    Just because every other company doesn’t give their employees one day a week to pursue their pranks and pet projects doesn’t mean they can’t also get pseudo-serious on April 1.
    XKCD wins the April 1 war, or at least ties for second (see directly below), by giving his already geek-tastic comic site a Unix-like interface for the day. Go ahead — type “ls” to list files, and type other commands (like “man next”) for loads of little goofs.
  • Reddit At least as of this morning, everybody is an Admin at the community posting/voting site. No, seriously—everybody is an admin.

  • Hulu Confidential Alec Baldwin narrates an internal training video, describing Hulu’s not-so-secret plan to mush our brains and use them for alien fuel.

  • Starbucks Listens to Customer Request for More Sizes The Plenta offers 128 ounces, the Micra 2 ounces, and Starbucks suggests using the Plenta bucket as a planter when you’re done.

  • Dharma Initiative Alarm Clock

  • Why couldn’t this have been real? This and other pseudo-products abound at the web store today. [ThinkGeek]

  • Apple Tablet Teardown Note that they’re tearing down an “Apple tablet,” not an iPad, in particular. You’ll get it when you scroll down a bit. [iFixit]

  • Introducing The Do-It-Yourself CrunchPad Kit Because of the way the CrunchPad turned out, it’s a good thing to laugh about. [TechCrunch]

  • Slashdot Discussions Now Include Roulette Video Chat What would actually happen if Slashdot commenters had to keep a video stream open while they typed out comments? You won’t find out here, but SlashRoulette is pretty clever.

  • More noble attempts to round up the April Fools’ shenanigans can be found at Search Engine Land and, in particular, TechCrunch’s 2010 list, which they plan to update throughout the day. It’s quite a scroll already.

    We are, most certainly, looking to hear about the pranks you almost thought were real today, or just the worthy jokes you’ve seen around the tech and corporate world today. Tell us about them in the comments

    via impact lab

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