Google plays the fool

April 1 pranks included buried treasure and Web traffic from outer space

Tags: EntertainmentGoogle Incorporated
  • E-Mail
Google plays the fool Google Analytics led us to believe we had a new-found following on the International Space Station.
By  Stephen McBride Published  April 2, 2013

Google Inc is known not to be above a little frivolity on 1 April and yesterday was no exception. The search giant concocted a range of elaborate hoaxes that had the more gullible of Web denizens scratching their heads.

Check out our gallery of Google's cheeky April Fools' Day pranks.

First up was the early-morning announcement that Google's YouTube service would be discontinued. The company announced on its blog that the video streaming site was just an eight-year survey to find the best video ever made. After midnight yesterday the service would shut down and a winner would be picked. As if the very notion of the Web's third most visited site closing down was not clue enough that Google was having a laugh, the search giant also mentioned in its blog that: "This announcement will resume for 12 hours every day for the next two years."

Our favourite of the day was the rather sneaky manipulation of Google's analytics service to show a real-time traffic location breakdown that included the folks aboard the International Space Station. To hammer the point home the ISS traffic was shown as having the vast majority share. In the case of, at one point 63% of our visitors were off world. We do enjoy the support of our orbital fans.

Check out our gallery of Google's cheeky April Fools' Day pranks.

As the bona fide font of all human knowledge, Google naturally knows where all the treasure is buried. To this end they thought it would be a good idea to add a Treasure Mode to Google Maps. That way Web users can get right down to business and go to where "X" marks the spot, rather than enduring all that pesky questing and braving of high seas.

By far the most bizarre idea was the launching of Google Nose, a service that the company said was the culmination of the arduous gathering of olfactory data such as "wet dog" that would then be used to drive searches.

Google+ decided it would be appropriate to introduce the means of automatically adding emoticons to photos. At the click of a button the add-on would pop an emotion icon next to each person in the image, based on their apparent emotional state. We think that's (smiley face).

Gmail would need a pouty face for its Fools' Day prank. It decided to turn everything blue and that included buttons and menus. According to The Next Web, the Blue Man Group was even part of the shenanigans.

Other jokes included portable ATMs for smartphones; an AI service for guaranteed returns for app designers; and a Google Australia service that lets you give your house a virtual makeover.

Check out our gallery of Google's cheeky April Fools' Day pranks.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code