Is it just me, or does it seem like Google starts celebrating April Fools’ Day earlier and earlier every year? No company on the web takes April 1st more seriously than Google, as we’ve been covering for years now. So what about this year’s April Fools’ Day antics? Let’s have a look.
Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge
It was a little past 12 pm ET today (March 31), when the Google Maps team posted its April Fools’ Day gag — the “Pokémon Challenge,” a game/adventure where Pokémon masters are tasked with using Google Maps to find game characters out in the wild. Winners will (facetiously) have a chance to become Google employees.
As with many of Google’s April 1st gags, this one’s kinda “real” in the sense that you can open up your Google Maps app (iPhone or Android), tap the search bar and then touch the new “Press start” button (just as seen in the video below). When my daughter, the family’s Pokémon expert, did that on my iPhone, we were immediately shown a map of Mountain View (Calif.) where a Bulbasaur and Dragonite were hanging out somewhere near the Google campus.
My daughter loves this gag, by the way. Loves it.
Google Japan: The Magic Hand
April Fools’ jokes are a worldwide thing with Google. Via the unofficial Google Operating System blog comes a joke called “The Magic Hand.” It’s a big hand device that operates your smartphone for you. Kinda. I think.
The Gmail team is out with a joke called Gmail Shelfies, which lets you set a photo of yourself as your Gmail theme, and then share it with others. Or you can subscribe to a theme setting called “Top Trending Shelfies” and Gmail will automatically set your theme from those images. If you’re into that. Sorry Gmail team. This one’s kinda flat as far as I’m concerned.
Nest: Total Temperature Control
Nest, one of Google’s newest acquisitions, is even in the April Fools’ Day game. Their gag is about a partnership with Virgin Atlantic airlines on a feature called “Total Temperature Control.” Every seat on Virgin’s jets gets its own Nest device to let passengers set their own temperature preferences as they fly. (This would actually be potentially cool if it were real.)
Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson even stars in the parody video.
Waze Launches WazeDates
Waze, another fairly recent Google acquisition, has pushed out its joke: a service called WazeDates that helps you “navigate to love faster” when you spot someone attractive while driving. (That sounds like a Google Glass app just waiting to happen, doesn’t it?) I laughed when the guy in the video says he used to honk at attractive females, “but honking can only take you so far.” Heh.
Google+ Auto-Awesome Photobombs
Just after midnight, the Google+ team announced its joke: Auto-Awesome Photobombs. But not just any photobombs — this is celebrity photobombs. For starters, if you upload a photo to Google+, Google might insert an image of David Hasselhoff, like shown in this Google example:
It sounds like other celebrities will replace Hasselhoff at some point.
The AdWords team is going with a play on words called “AdBirds.” There’s no announcement I’ve seen, but people were talking about it on Google+ — and I found it in my AdWords account via an alert when I logged in. You can choose one of six birds for your ad, write copy and … I don’t know what happens after that, frankly, and I’m not sure I want to mess with existing ad groups to find out!
Google Chrome Emoji Translator
Google Chrome has announced Google Translate support for Emoji on its blog. Claiming to be built into Chrome for Android and iOS, the new translator tool lets you, “Read all your favorite web content using efficient and emotive illustrations, instead of cumbersome text.”
Not only did the announcement include the text conversation that served as the inspiration for the emoji translator, Google created the following video explaining how the written word can’t keep up in a new world where communication must be optimized for a smaller screens:
Interplanetary Reports from Google AdSense
The following Google+ post from Google AdSense lets advertisers know about the new “Top planets and moons” reports that offer insight on impressions and revenue coming from places other than earth.
“With our recent discovery of the interplanetary IP address repository, you’ll have access to even more reports that can help you improve user engagement on your site,” claims the announcement, because, if there’s anything we need, it’s more reports from Google.
Google Gas USB Fueling Nozzle
Googler Norman Cohen also took to Google+ to announce a new USB gas nozzle. “Running low on gas in the middle of the desert, with no cellular service for miles around?” asks Cohen, “Not to worry, Google gas allows you to cache up to 4 gigabytes of gas while you’re connected.”
Google Research Making Blockly Universally Accessible
This one’s really geeky. The Google Research blog says it’s making the Blockly programming language universally accessible, including a full translation in Klingon.
Okay. (I don’t get it.)
Google Analytics: Data-less Decision Making
This one’s quite good. Google Analytics jokingly introduces a new training class called “Data-less Decision Making.”
“Using Google’s computing power, we’ve determined that 50 of the time 99% of decisions can be made with only 38% of the data,” says Justin Cutroni. “In this course we’re going to explore many arbitrary ways you can make decisions about your data. For example we’ll talk about the dart board method….”
I think you’ll like this one.
Auto-Awesome For Resumes
The “Life at Google” team — much like the Google+ team — is having fun with the auto-awesome feature. In this case, the joke is that they can auto-awesome your resume, to give it things like a Pokémon or Doge theme. Here’s the video.
Google Fiber & Coffee
Google Fiber announces “Coffee to the Home” — your direct coffee superhighway that delivers coffee to your house via Google Fiber’s backbone and “coffee servers.” There’s a “coffee now” button on the Fiber jack.
YouTube: Upcoming Viral Video Trends
The YouTube team is taking credit for writing, shooting and uploading “all of the world’s most popular viral videos” and in the video below, they’re pre-announcing what memes will turn into hot videos in 2014. Things like “clocking” and “butter fails” — when people “hilariously” destroy a piece of bread by trying to spread cold butter on it — are included.
Google Enterprise: Apps For Business Dogs
If you bring your dog to work, why not help him/her be more productive with Google Apps for Business Dogs. That’s the Google Enterprise team’s gag this year. Features include “Hangouts with bark enhancement” and “Dmail with translation.”
We’ll keep adding more to this post as we discover them. And, as always, we invite you to let us know if you find one we haven’t mentioned.
(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)