It’s that time of year again when offices around the world brace for the worst, the most creative, and most daring ideas to surface in what is known as April Fools.
Search engine company Google hasn’t shied away from the fun over the past few years, and has even used the April 1 date to launch new products, for example, Gmail in 2004. As it turned out, the story of a free email provider providing a whole Gigabyte of storage was unheard of in the day, and spread like an April Fools joke.
Here I’d like to share my five favorite Google April Fools Jokes:
1. Project Virgle
The Adventure of Many Lifetimes, inviting participants to enter and qualify for an epic journey to Mars. This actually was a collaboration between Sir Richard Branson (Virgin) and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, hence the name Virgle. I came across this by accident several months after April Fools, and seeing Richard Brandson talk about out-of-this-world plans for Virgin seemed quite plausible. They had me going for a while.
2. AdSense for Conversations
AdSense for Conversations promises to be a new type of monetization solution that “puts the ‘context’ in contextual advertising”. An interface attaches to the head of a speaker and lists ads related to what is being spoken about. As a recommendation for untargeted ads, it recommends rambling.
3. Gmail Custom Time
Be on Time, Every Time.
This innovative Gmail feature allows users to back-date the send time and date on an email, ultimately eliminating the concept of being late. It utilizes an e-flux capacitor to luckily work around the issues of causality. Unfortunately the use of this tool is limited to 10 per user per year.
4. Google Romance
Dating is a search problem. Solve it with Google Romance.
If you choose the Contextual Dating option, be prepared to deal with thematically appropriate multimedia advertising throughout the entirety of your free date.
5. Rick Roll’d
Rick Astley’s video of his 80’s hit single Never Gonna Give You UP was the unintentional destination for many YouTube visitors on April Fools 2008. When clicking on any Featured Video on the YouTube homepage, users were taken to the music video in a practice which has since become widely known as being Rick Rolled or Rick Roll’d.
For your further amusement, here is a complete listing of Google hoaxes over the years on Wikipedia.