April Fool's prank round-up

From Google to the White House, it seems like everyone is having a little fun today.

April Fool’s shenanigans abound, and here are some of the most creative pranks we could find. If you know of any good ones we have left off the list, feel free to let us know. In the meantime, Happy April Fool’s Day!

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Google Nose BETA

True to form, Google has graced us with several April Fool’s Day hoaxes this year. The first we came across, on Google’s homepage, is Google Nose BETA, which Google touts as the new “scentsation in search.” The Google Aromabase has amassed an amazing 15-million-scentibyte data base. Beautiful in its simplicity, users just have to click the “Smell” button in their search result and sniff their computer, tablet or phone. With smells including vampire, gym, frying onions, diapers, new car, ghost, Egyption tomb and victory, Google Nose users have a lot of smelling to do.

Google Maps treasure mode

Google Maps got in on the action, too. In 2012, a team conducting an expedition off the coast of Madagascar for underwater Street View found the long lost maps of William “Captain” Kidd. Google has now digitized the maps, which contain clues to Captain Kidd’s treasure, and is asking for users’ help in deciphering its encrypted symbols and codes. To view, just click the Treasure Mode button on the upper right of the Google Maps page. But this will be no easy task. Some clues are revealed by sunlight, others by configuring devices like a puzzle, some react to fire (do NOT try this at home) and, finally, some must be aligned perfectly (read: sky diving). Proceed with caution.

Gmail Blue

Not to be outdone, Gmail has come up with Gmail Blue. When setting out to revamp its widely used email service, Gmail asked: “How do we completely redesign and recreate something while keeping it exactly the same?" So, what’s so special about Gmail Blue? “It’s Gmail, only bluer.” After experimenting with many different colors -- brown was a “disaster” -- Gmail settled on blue, inspired from nature, like the ocean, the sky and blue whales. Except the blue in Gmail Blue is better than the blue in nature, Google claims. See for yourself. 

YouTube’s ready to select a winner

YouTube revealed today that the entire company's existence was just an eight-year-long contest to find the best video in the world. Tonight at midnight the site is shutting down and a staff of 30,000 technicians will spend the next 10 years in deliberations to determine the winner. YouTube will relaunch in 2023 with the winning video and nothing else. And it’s not a popularity contest; Gangnam Style has as much a chance to win as a video with only 40 views of a man feeding bread to a duck. As promised in 2005, the winner will receive an MP3 player that clips to a shirtsleeve and a $500 stipend for his or her next creative endeavor. 


Twitter announced that it is switching to a two-tiered service: the basic Twttr, for which users can use only consonants, and the $5 a month option which includes vowels. Twitter tells us the new Twttr service will encourage “a more efficient and ‘dense’ form of communication.” “Y” will be free to everyone. Twitter recommends that you practice tweeting without vowels, including the hashtag #nvwls. Early adopters include Joan Rivers.


Hulu  is bolstering its lineup, rolling out a number of "classic" TV shows and movies , including The Itchy & Scratchy Show, advertised as the “most violent, beloved children’s series of all time,” and The Rural Juror, winner of the “Most Unpronounceable Film” honor at the Cannes Film Festival and “The Daytona High School Movie Night Participation Award.” Hulu would like to give a special thanks to the “Sabor de Soledad CheesePuffs, McDaniels, The Tracy Jordan Meat Machine, and Duff Beer for their support as official launch sponsors.”

Virgin's glass-bottom plane

Richard Branson and Virgin Atlantic have announced an exciting aviation breakthrough: the ability to book a glass-bottomed plane along its new domestic Scottish route. Little Red passengers will now have a bird's-eye view of Great Britain as they fly. If the flights prove popular, Virgin Atlantic will consider adding glass-bottomed planes to other routes as well. Nervous flyers are encouraged to book on traditional, non-glass-bottomed planes.

Kodak's Wrist Kiosk

Want to print out photos with a minimum of fuss and bother? Kodak's Wrist Kiosk may be just the ticket. It allows users to print photos via a micro SD card, USB or Bluetooth. But the Kodak Wrist Kiosk also supports Wi-Fi so it can access your photos from Facebook, Flickr and Instagram. Kodak’s blog entry declares, “It has never been easier to make your life’s biggest moments into tiny prints and photo gifts.” Each Kodak Wrist Kiosk comes with tweezers and a magnifying glass. The link at the end to “Get on the waiting list” redirects interested parties to Wikipedia’s April Fool’s Day page. 

The kid president

Even the White House is having a go at April Fool’s Day pranks. “A Special Message From the President” appeared on the White House website at 10 a.m. this morning,. Popping up from behind the podium, a well-dressed young man says, “It looks like you were expecting somebody else. Well, April Fool’s on all y’all!” And then he says some other stuff.  An April Fool’s Day must-see.  (The video's also available at www.whitehouse.gov.) 

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