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Google’s April Fools’ Day 2013 Joke-A-Thon: YouTube Shutdown, Google Nose & More
April Fool’s Day is pretty much like a national … err, international holiday for everyone that works for Google.
It seems that nobody else on the Web takes the tradition of pranks and jokes as seriously as Google does — just see our coverage from the last few April Fool’s Days for proof:
- Google’s Gags Go Worldwide For April Fool’s Day 2012
- It’s Over: Google Has Already Won April Fools Day 2011
- Google Books, Google Maps Get 3D View – But Only For April Fool’s Day
- April Fools’ Day 2009: Google CADIE & More From Search Industry
It may still be March 31st for me, and maybe for many of you reading this, but it’s already April 1st in Australia, and the Google jokes are well underway. Here’s a look at what we’ve found so far (and we’ll be updating this article through the day with more):
First out of the block is the Google Australia blog, which has announced Google SCHMICK — Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit. It’s a fake addition to Google’s Street View service that purports to let users decorate their houses with any of “hundreds of themes or features.” If your house is a little drab, you could spice it up like this:
Unlike some Google April 1st gags, Google SCHMICK isn’t actually real. If you click the link in Google Australia’s blog post, you get “Rick-rolled” by an April 1st page.
Google Maps Treasure Hunt Mode
Some of Google’s April Fool’s jokes are real, like the Google Maps Treasure Hunt mode that you can use at maps.google.com/maps?t=8.
The Google Maps team is based in Australia, so it makes sense that this one would be one of the first gags of the day for Google to roll out.
Update: Treasure Mode is a bit more involved than I’ve described above. It’s actually part of a game in which Google is asking users to help find a treasure buried by William “Captain” Kidd.
YouTube Shutting Down On April 1st
So far, this is the best Google gag I’ve seen this year. Much better than what’s above. YouTube has jokingly announced that the site is shutting down tomorrow (April 1st) and that the eight-year competition to find the best video is over.
The video explaining the shut down and competition is pretty much brilliant — it features several YouTube stars from over the years, including Antoine Dodson, David Devore Jr. — the dazed post-dental appointment boy, Judson Laipply of “Evolution of Dance” fame and others. Have a look:
Judging is said to take 10 years, and YouTube will relaunch in 2023 when a winner is announced. There’s even a video stream where all nominees will be announced starting tomorrow (and continuing for two years).
Now THAT is how you do an April Fools’ Day joke.
Here’s another good one: Google Nose, which Google bills as “the new scentsation in search.” (Punny. Very punny.) It’s exactly what it sounds like … a joke about smell-based search. And Google’s playing this one to the hilt: Do a search on Google.com now and one of the search verticals at the top is “Nose (beta).” Plus, in certain Knowledge Graph results, the “People also searched” heading now says “People also sniffed.”
Here’s the video explaining Google Nose search:
Google+ Photos +Emotion
The Google+ team got involved with the announcement of “Your photos +Emotion,” a tool in the Google+ photo panel that lets you add emoticons to your uploaded images. Why? ” Because “when it comes to expressing yourself, nothing beats the richness and elegance of a few properly placed colons, parentheses, letters and hyphens.”
There actually is an emoticon tool in the photo panel on my photos, but clicking on it doesn’t actually do anything. At least, not for me. (And I’m perfectly fine with that.)
Google Analytics: International Space Station Traffic
Thanks to reader Pavel Khaykin of Banarsi Designs for letting us know there’s an April Fool’s joke today in the Real-Time section of Google Analytics. If you click on the Locations tab, Google is showing that you currently have 41 visits coming in from the International Space Station.
Google Play Developer Console: Add New “Awesome” Application
If you happen to have a Google Play Developer account, you’ll see a new option on the dashboard. Right next to the “Add new application” button is “Add new awesome application.”
If you click that button, Google promises to help you build a new app based on “advanced machine learning algorithms” that have “discovered … the common patterns and characteristics of successful applications.”
And then, there’s one more step to get to a funny form where you can choose where the app should be featured (options include the Official Google Blog, TechCrunch and Wired, among others), as well as which Google employees should develop the app — Larry and Sergey are both an option.
When you submit the form, Google’s landing page tells you that its programmers are already hard at work on your app — the numbers you see below (4372 and 68) ramp up rapidly as you watch the page. The link at the bottom sends you to Wikipedia’s page about April Fool’s Day.
For a product that actually was launched on April 1st (2004), you’d think Gmail would come up with something a little more involved than turning its interface blue.
Google Fiber Poles
The Google Fiber crew in Kansas City is even in on the jokes. And this is one of those gags that you know people wish was actually real. It’s called Google Fiber Poles — small kiosk-type boxes attached to utility poles where Google Fiber customers can access the same Internet speeds they get at home.
Google Apps: Levity Algorithm
The Google Apps team has a joke based on what it calls the Levity Algorithm. The gag here is that clicking a setting turns boring, work-related calendar tasks into more exciting and fun To Dos, or makes emails and presentations funnier.
The main speaker in that video, listed as product manager “Steve Daley,” is actually actor Steven Yeun, one of the stars of AMC’s hit series, The Walking Dead, which just had its Season Three finale on Sunday night.
Google Analytics Export Options
Okay, it’s Monday – April Fools’ Day is finally here and the gags are continuing. Google Analytics has another one with today’s “news” that there are several new export and send-to options for your reports, like CD-Rom, papyrus and Carrier pigeon.
Google Japan Input Device
I have no idea what exactly is being said here, but Google Japan appears to have announced some kind of new input device. Matt Cutts tweeted about it, so there you go.
Google Wallet Mobile ATM
The Google Commerce folks have announced the “Google Wallet Mobile ATM,” a device that attaches (not really) to your smartphone and dispenses cash on the spot — including “rare two- and fifty-dollar bills.”
Google Trends: Cold Searches
Google Trends has decided to not only show “hot” searches, but for April Fools’ Day is also showing Cold search trends. This is stuff that nobody’s searching for, like “Y2K,” “Macarena step-by-step” and “prom scrunchies.” Hehe. Pretty good.
We’ll continue to update this roundup as the day goes along. Feel free to check back.