The executives at Google have always had fun with April Fools’ Day pranking the public with phony product launches and other fake announcements. You can check out Google’s 2013′s April Fools’ jokes here.
But this year, Google got its start a day early on March 31. Of course, some are better than others. For example, I love the idea of being photobombed by David Hasselhoff and hooking up while stuck in a traffic jam using the WazeDates app, but the video for the Google Play Signature Edition – to make your apps collections more physical – fell a little to me.
Here are Google’s 2014 April Fools’ Day pranks.
Speak like a pirate
On Google Helpouts, Scowlin’ Guideon Scabb offers one-on-one tutoring live videos so you learn the finer points of speaking like a pirate.
Sounds kind of stupid. But at least the sessions are free:
YouTube’s new viral video trends
Finally, now you can find out how to get millions of views for your videos as YouTube has announced the #newtrends for 2014. The new popular virals videos include Clocking – where people use their arms like a clock, Kissing Dad and, of course, the new dance sensation – Glub Glub the water dance.
So start recording now.
According to Viewbix blog, Google has made a change to ad words site, offering birds instead. Personally, I have not been able to see this feature myself, so I am not clear if the prank originates with Google or elsewhere on the net.
“With over 6 birds to choose from for varied levels of efficiency, marketers were invited to select a bird, add accompanied text and let the bird take flight… or waddle,” writer Amelia Rivera says in the post.
UPDATE: The AdBirds campaign was actually campaign for a documentary called a Bird Co. Media and not a Google prank as such.
Google employee Norman Cohen has announced a new way to fill-up, with Google Gas.
A gas nozzle connects to your smartphone via micro USB (or maybe it’s mini USB, it’s hard to tell in the photo). Your smartphone, using the right companion app, can now store up to 4 GB of gasoline.
Chromecast for squirrels If you worried, there not enough entertainment for rodents, fear not as now Google has announced programming specifically designed for and starring squirrels. The Chromecast: A New Era of Squirrel Entertainment video explains it all
Google apps for business dogs
Does your dog have a job? No? Well now it can get an office job all its own with its new canine-oriented Google apps. “Google Apps for Business Dogs helps pups everywhere be more productive at the office,” the YouTube page explains.
And if you’re dog is really lucky, it may actually land a position as Google’s new software dogineer.
As someone who uses Google Analytics on a daily basis, this particular is of real interest to me. Sure I can read web analytics and use it to determine if a particular piece of content is gaining or losing traffic online and whether I should continue to play it up or not.
But I want to learn how to do it without the stats. With Google Analytics Academy’s new course, Data-less decision-making, I can now learn techniques like dart-throwing, Astrology and coin-flipping to determine what to do with my online content. And now you can too.
Blockly in Klingon
UPDATE: I found Google’s Klingon Blockly page. Here’s Google explanation for the translation:
Blockly has been translated into over 40 languages, including RTL languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. We feel that it is important that novice programmers are able to learn the fundamentals of programming in their own language, before making the transition to conventional English-based programming languages.
Klingon is a real language in every sense of the word. It is not just a collection of made-up words thrown together for a movie. Instead, it has been crafted by linguists over the course of decades. The Klingon language has a complicated grammar that is completely unique.
As I admit to knowing almost nothing about the programming language, I really have no idea how jokey this prank is – especially since a lot of people who speak in Klingon take the whole thing scary seriously.
Coffee to the home
Google has also announced it is integrating coffee delivery with its Fiber high-speed Internet service in Kansas City, “We’re delivering made-to-order coffee drinks straight to our users at fiber speeds—through the same fiber jack that delivers 100 times faster Internet,” the product’s YouTube video states. Though, the coffee probably tastes burnt.
Want to know what your cat is thinking? Well, now you can download a keyboard for felines. Available at the Chrome Web Store, QWERTY Cats will translate catspeak for you. The keyboard just comes with four buttons, one for each paw, and a mouse (the animal) which presents a red dot to chase on the screen. Google’s Francois Beaufort explains more about the keyboard in this Google+ post:
AutoAwesome photobombs with David Hasselhoff
If you love celebrity photobombs and the Hoff, then you’ll love this new feature that lets the former Knight Rider/Baywatch star appear in your Google+ photos. According to a post on Google’s official blog by software engineer you can use your Google+’s AutoAwesome photo feature, which automatically backs up photos, enhances them and even animate similar photos as a gif, and Hasselhoff might appear in them.
From the looks of it, you just have to upload a pic to the social network with the tags #Hoffsome and #AutoAwesome and he may appear in your pic. And if you tag Hasselhoff in the photo, he will comment on it. Apparently this actually worked for some people, but sadly, Hasselhoff didn’t actually photobomb my pic. But the David Hasselhoff account did comment of the photo of the newt I uploaded. Though, it is almost certainly an auto-response:
Google+ has a number of the #Hoffsome photobombs on its site, which are entertaining. So whether it is real or not, I don’t know. Go ahead and post one and give some love to the forgotten social network:
But Google’s AutoAwesome photo features isn’t just for the Hoff. According to this video, you can enhance your curriculum vitae with photos and animated background gifs to make it stand out. And this resume, which could include a picture of a Shiba Inu, could match you up with an equally “awesome” job at Google itself. But don’t hold your breath.
Google AdSense Top Planets or Moons
Google AdSense also got an update for April Fools’ Day, so businesses can cater to website viewers that live on other planets.
Google Play Signature Edition For mobile users who miss the tactile experience of having physical drives, Google has announced Google Play Signature Edition, which will deliver your apps via USB and give a pretty box to keep it in:
With Signature Edition, you can bring back the physical connection to your users. App delivery is completed via USB drives shipped in carefully crafted boxes, each proudly bearing your signature. This not only gives your users the very latest version of your app, but also adds a personal touch that is so often missing in our modern digital age.
And the entire delivery process will only take around three weeks. Stellar!
Google Maps: Pokemon Challenge
The company unveiled its Google Maps: Pokemon Challenge - a fake contest to become a Google employee which gets contestants to use the Google Maps app to find and catch Pokemon. As the YouTube page explains:
Dozens of wild Pokémon have taken up residence on streets, amidst forests and atop mountains throughout Google Maps. To catch ‘em all, grab your Poké Ball and the newest version of Google Maps for iPhone or Android. Then tap the search bar, “press start,” and begin your quest. And, follow Google Maps on Google+, Facebook or Twitter for hints and tips for the most dedicated trainers.
Even though, Pokemon as a phenomenon is a little after my time, it does seem like a fun way to travel around the world.
Parodying the selfie, Google unveiled the feature for its popular e-mail program, which actually turns 10 on April 1. The so-called “shelfie” is a portmanteau of shareable and selfie, Google software engineer Greg Bullock explained in a blog post.
Basically, the gimmick here is that you can take a selfie and make it your Gmail theme – something you’ve actually been able to do since custom themes were introduced back in 2012. But now, you can share that theme via e-mail, Google+ or just as a link. And although it is intended as a joke, shelfies are, strictly speaking, real as you can see in the example below:
Though, I’m not sure why anyone would want to use that as a custom theme.
Of course, if you’re looking to hook up this April Fools’ Day, maybe you’d want to try WazeDates, which the YouTube page explains “uses the same crowdsourcing technology designed to help drivers around the world outsmart traffic, while creating a new space for people to meet and fall in love.”
So now you can hook up while stuck in gridlock:
Thank you for your interest in becoming a WazeDates beta tester! We hope you enjoyed our April Fools’ joke, in the name of spreading love and joy to all our users.
The Waze Team
Google Magic Hand
Over in Japan, Google unveiled Magic Hand- a special joystick-controlled gadget to handle your smartphone for you so you don’t have to bother touching your phone – and I guess avoid getting smudges on it. And for a faster typing solution, you can connect a keyboard via USB.
Nest + Virgin
Google’s Nest Labs, which is responsible for the learning thermostat than can be controlled by your smartphone, announced it has teamed up with Virgin America for its new product Total Temperature Control – so each passenger can set his or her optimal cabin temperature. Just let Virgin head honcho Sir Richard Branson and Nest boss Tony Fadell explain it to you.
If you use the Chrome browser for Android and the date on your device is April 1, it will translate some words into emojis.
Luckily, this feature can be turned on and off, which is good as it might be annoying after awhile.
While Google comes up with a number of pranks every year, not all pranks are created by the company itself. Here are a couple of Google-related April Fools’ Day jokes, created by others.
As the companies explain on the Google Naps page:
Dear Sergey & Larry (and other Googlers)
Hello, please don’t be mad this is just a joke, a parody. We don’t mean to damage your brand or anything, we just want to bring a smile on the faces of Google fans. So please don’t take this to court, we only have a few hundred Euros in the bank. And we also don’t want to go to jail because we’re too busy with other things at the moment. But whenever you are in the Netherlands you can have a nap on our couch if you want, just e-mail us: email@example.com. We can also make coffee and bake eggs if you like that (for a small price).
Kakhiel & Venour
Google Glass Solo
Meanwhile, tech news site Pocket-Lint posted a joke article on Google Glass Solo – a Google Glass monocle:
The new Glass monocle addresses a problem that Google is calling “the curious case of the covert overt”, where those openly wearing Glass are accused of trying to hide their subversive intent.
Glass Solo addresses the problem of social ostracism, as one can simply relax the eye and let Glass drop, secure in the knowledge that the lanyard will keep your wearable attached.
It can then be tucked into your waistcoat pocket with lordly discretion.