Fool Us Once: 2013 April Fools' Day Roundup

Find some buried treasure, fly in a glass-bottomed jet or mock the Caped Crusader… these are among the many ways you can be fooled thus far on this April Fools' Day, 2013.

The media and technology sectors have been busy already this morning, coming up with some new and clever ways to pull the wool over our eyes on the one day of the year when all the stops are pulled out to deliver the laughs. Of course, some gags are funnier than others, but we'll let you decide in this morning roundup of the funny and the lame.

Google: Class Clown Or Else

If you're judging on sheer number of pranks, then hands down the Mountain View search engine company takes the prize in 2013.

Apparently, when Marissa Mayer took her stop-screwing-around-and-get-some-work-done attitude with her when she went to Yahoo, her former co-workers took that as a sign to cut loose and let their funny flags fly, launching no less than nine goofs.

Gee, if only they could put this much effort into Google Reader.

  • YouTube Closing. Millions of videos later, YouTube reveals that the whole thing was actually one big contest for finding the world's best video. Now that the contest is over, Best Video nominees will be previewed in a 12-hour cycle for the next two years.
  • 'Dem Naughty Gmail Blues. In a feat of massive re-engineering, the team at Gmail has provided users with an all-blue interface. Watch the stirring marketing video and hey, just remember, Gmail itself was once thought to be an April Fool's joke. If it ever goes the way of Google Reader, it still could be.
  • Avast Ye, Scurvy Dogs! The Google Maps team has discovered the lost treasure maps of Captain William Kidd, and is asking users to help decode the symbology from the find. No word if this will actually reward patient humorologists with booty.
  • Make Your House Look Fabulous! If you're tired of the way your home looks on Google Street View, the Google Australia team is happy to help. Their new Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit (SCHMICK) will let you redecorate your home on Street View at no charge.
  • Smelling Is Believing. Those Street View cars were apparently hoovering more than just stray wi-fi data… they were also recording the smells of the world for Google's new Google Nose service (in Beta, natch). The new service appears all day on the Google nav bars, in case you want to sniff it out. (Yeah, I went there.)
  • Analyze This. Google Analytics, long the authoritative source for finding out who's coming to your site, has upped its game with accuracy, enabling real-time tracking from visitors from the International Space Station.
  • Emotions Are Logical. Google + gets a real plus in the new +Emotion service that lets you tag photos with unambiguous emoticons. You know, in case the actual expressions on people's faces weren't clear enough.
  • Google Fiber Everywhere. Yeah, I'll come clean: I want this one to be oh, so, true. Because moving to Kansas is not optimal.
  • The Source Of The Funny. Ah, now we get to the source of Google's overabundance of the funny this year: the Google Levity Algorithm, a new feature for Google Apps that enhances documents and interactive communications based on 50 years of comedy material from Second City.

Badda-Bing, Badda-What?

Not to be outdone, Microsoft tried to bring the funny to its Bing search service. Instead of quantity, the jokemeisters at Microsoft (I mean, come on, Vista wasn't funny?) went for quality.

Reports of a Google-themed Bing search home page led me instead displayed a clever little Easter Island-themed page. Cute, but I was looking forward to the dig on Google. With a little work, you can get it: type "google" in the Bing search bar to hit the jackpot.

Sy Wht?

Twitter is finally figuring out new ways to generate revenue, it seems. Their new Twttr service will enable users to use Twttr consonant-free free of charge. If you want vowels, all you need to pay is an extra $5/month.

Here's the thing: I'm not sure, given the average depth of tweets, that anyone will ntce, er, notice.

What? Is Your Favourite Colour?

You can't have April Fool's Day without some wacky British humour. With their extra letters and aversion to the letter "z," British spelling alone makes anything funnier.

  • All News All The Time. The Guardian has announced an innovative new tool to enhance the average person's day: Guardian Googles. These new tools will push through left-wing content to you every waking moment, and censor out any temptations to read that naughty Daily Telegraph.
  • Whee! Liked the looks of that cool Shard building you saw on Doctor Who this weekend? Well, HuffPo UK has revealed plans to build a giant 244.3-meter (801 feet, 6 inches for us Americans) spiral slide around the London edifice (and yes, this would be my number-two on the wish-it-were-real list).
  • Plane With A View. Richard Branson himself has announced the coming of glass-bottomed planes for Virgin airlines, launching to coincide with the airline's new service to Scotland.

From Around the Web

There's a lot of April Fools humor to be found across the Internets today, beyond just the usual suspects. Here's a quick list:

  • Avast Ye! Part II. The Pirate Bay, recognizing that some were angered by a recent "decision" to locate its servers in North Korea, has announced that it will instead be moving "the greatest fuckin nation in the entire world," the United States of America. Sarcasm ahoy!
  • Nokia Pushes The Popcorn Button. Undeterred by its recent struggles in the mobile phone sector, Nokia is launching a new product line: microwave ovens. Bright yellow and apparently Windows Phone-themed. Yeah, that'll work.
  • Introducing Kindle Zero. Marketing guru Seth Godin scoops us all with his big reveal of the new free-of-charge Kindle Zero, Amazon's latest e-reader. Not only will the device be free, by Amazon will pay you to read challenging books, too.
  • The Writing On The Wall. Wolfram|Alpha, makers of the world's most confusing search engine, is releasing its own new product, the Handwritten Knowledge Engine. I'll let you know if I think this is funny, once I figure out how to use the real W|A tools.
  • North Korea, Land o' Laughs. Not sure of the source, but supposedly the Democratic People's Republic Of Korea "unveils for betterment of world new game Draw Kim Jong-Un." Check out the trailer on YouTube, because in the DPRK, fun is mandatory.
  • Because Messing With Batman Is Always A Good Idea. As a comic geek, this is probably my personal favorite. ThinkGeek's annual prank product are these Batman-themed family window stickers. You know, the ones that advertise on the highway the procreation rate of the family in that minivan in front of you. Only in this case, the stickers are a little more sad.

Spotted another April Fool's gag? Post it in the comments below and share!

Image courtesy of Google.