The History of Google’s April Fool Pranks

by Swetha Sridharan on February 20, 2013

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Initially, Google was just a search engine which sprouted loads of information with just a single click. Later on, it brought out its funny and hilarious side to world’s notice in form of Easter eggs, tricks and April fool pranks. Every year, on April fool’s Day, Google releases a slew of gag products and services as a hoax which was never to be implemented practically in real life. So, let’s take a look back into the Google’s April Fool Pranks :

First Prank: 2000-MentalPlex Technology

MentalPlex Google brain stormed the idea of pranking its billion users worldwide from 2000 by introducing its new MentalPlex Technology. This app was said to scan our brain waves, browser history, mouse speed and determine which website we were trying to access. But for the app to work we had to take of our hat and glasses off and look at the image of MentalPlex circle and visualize on clicking that circle. Did you seriously think it was going to work?!

Second Prank: 2002-PigeonRank

 

PigeonRank

Google didn’t come up with a prank in 2001 but atoned for it in 2002, by letting out the secret behind the ranking of websites for any search done in their search engine – by Pigeon Ranking. It was revealed that these pigeons were taught the computer algorithm for ranking the search results and were faster and easily disciplined than humans. These pigeon’s were treated humanely and allowed to take break intervals from their work, having their own posh bird house (LOL).

Third Prank: 2004-Google Copernicus

 

Copernicus In 2003 Google aborted their April fool prank only to come back with a bang next year. On April 1st, 2004, Google started advertising for job openings for Google Copernicus Hosting Environment and Experiment in Search Engineering (G.C.H.E.E.S.E) to work on the Moon. With specific request that people who needed soy low-fat lattes, ‘The Sopranos’ and a steady supply of oxygen need not apply. Yeah on the Moooo…..n ! 

Next Prank: 2005-Google Gulp

 

Gulp

Google Gulp, an energy drink was announced by Google in 2005. Google announced that this beverage would optimize one’s use of the Google search engine by increasing the drinker’s intelligence. It was claimed that this boost was achieved through real-time analysis of the user’s DNA (LOL) and carefully tailored adjustments to the nerves in the brain .The drink was said to come in “4 great flavours”: Glutamate Grape, Sugar-Free Radical, Beta Carroty and Sero-Tonic Water! Which flavour do you prefer?

Yet Another: 2006-Google Romance

 

Romance

2006 was the year of romance. Google released a dating platform called “Google Romance”, where users could post their own profile and search for their soul mate with Google’s matchmaking software. Google would later provide you with links which on opening showed error thereby exposing its latest April fool prank. Bulb!

And This was a Classic: 2007-Google TiSp

 

TiSP

In 2007, Google released their TiSP (Toilet Internet Service Provider). This service brought wireless connections to users in toilet, which was much in need during that time since cables were attached. This was said to be obtained by connecting the fibre cable line to municipal sewage and needed to be ordered to be connected to that network.

More Pranks: 2008-Gmail Custom Time and More..

From 2008, Google started playing more than a dozen April fool pranks a year. A few scintillating ones are:

  •  One was the prank involving YouTube, which played Rick Astley’s song “Never gonna give you up” when clicking on any video making the users go crazy.
  • Google’s Orkut displayed its name as yogurt, Google Bang, Inc.
  • Google released a gDay software in Australia that would search and categorize websites 24 hours before they were even posted!
  •  Google announced a joint project with Virgin Group to establish permanent human settlement on Mars. The project was named as Project Virgle (LOL).

2009-CADIE and Google Chrome 3D

In 2009, Google played 17 new gags. One of their biggest was their announcement of 3D version of their Google chrome browser. They introduced CADIE software, world’s first ‘artificial intelligence’ multi-tasked array system. CADIE also changed Google maps by suggesting most recommended places for humans in the world. Another popular prank was the Gmail autopilot option which could send auto response emails based on pre-set spelling, grammar and tone options. Autopilot would even terminate relationships if an email had an aggressive tone!!

Some Epic Pranks: 2010-Google Changes Name to “Topeka” and More…

  • It was announced that YouTube’s ASCII text filter would offer a version of YouTube in text mode only.
  • They surprised the world by changing their name to “Topeka” for a day.
  •  Google Docs will have the capacity to upload anything, including physical objects like keys, remote controls, etc. One could use this to find items like keys using CTRL-F and send objects around the globe by “uploading” and “downloading” them, at the low price of $0.10 per kg (LOL).
  •  Google’s proposed keyboard includes a single key for each Japanese character.
  •  Google offered an option which allows the user to print life size cardboard cut outs of all of their photos.

Loads More Pranks: 2011-Gmail Motion and More…

Google outdid themselves this time with almost 20 different pranks:

  • They released Gmail motion which helps to you control your Gmail account with the help of your body language.
  • All Google products would use the much hated Cosmic sans font from now on.
  • Google china offered teleportation for users to travel through real time of search.
  •  Google UK brought about a translator which helps humans and animals to communicate with each other.
  • Meow me now, a famous app which would allow apple and android users to find cats closer to the vicinity.

And Even More: 2012-Reaching under water’s!

  • A service called as the “The YouTube Collection” was introduced where you could even order the video you were watching home.
  • An underwater image search experience developed by Google China.
  • Google added weather control to its weather search.
  •  Innovative remote control application for phone and tablet lets users interact with shows and movies as they are playing.
  • Google revealed that dogs at Google offices go through the same detailed recruitment and hiring process by Canine Staffing Team as human Googler’s do before being welcomed to the Googleplex!
  • On December 23, 2012, Google launched “Google Santa Tracker”. It is supposed to help “track Santa’s path”. It features a dashboard, a gps, which features an animated drawing of Santa and 9 reindeer travelling overseas towards north!!! (Now this surely deserves three exclamation marks!)

And for sure, many many more are to come….

Conclusion:

This is just a small gist of the most widely known Google April fool’s pranks which are known for its whimsical and preposterous thinking. Google hides its treasures in Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Translate, interactive Google Doodles, and more. Google’s April Fool’s Day pranks and jokes have become the spotlight of their humour, but many of these gems can be found year-round.

Excited to see what you might get this year? like and subscribe Techwikasta to get the instant updates on that :)

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  • arwal

    2004 and 2007 are amazing! :P