Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Google's 2010 April Fools' Day Hoaxes

On 1st April 2000 millions of internet users around the world were stumped to see this new look Google homepage (screenshot below) with a supposedly new technology called 'MentalPlex' and had the following instructions for performing searches

  • Remove hat and glasses.
  • Peer into MentalPlex circle. DO NOT MOVE YOUR HEAD.
  • Project mental image of what you want to find.
  • Click or visualize clicking within the MentalPlex circle.

What's more there was also a detailed and serious looking MentalPlex FAQs page and illustrations.

Within  a few hours the word had spread that this was an elaborate April Fools' Joke by the then 1.5 years old Search Engine!

Since then this tradition of a Google Aprils' Fool Day joke has been continued.

Here are the hoaxes from this year.

1. Google Docs Blog

Following up from an announcement in January which mentioned that you could now add any files to your Google Documents up to a file size of 1 GB, today's blog post announced the following:

"As with documents, spreadsheets, and files, you also share objects you've uploaded to Google Docs with anyone in the world. For example, do you ever wish you could CTRL+F your house keys or your TV remote? Store your keys, remotes, rail passes, and other objects you commonly lose with Google Docs, and you'll never have to worry about finding them again. Having trouble moving your piano from New York to California? Upload it from your home in New York, then download it once you're in California. Change your mind and want to share it with your friend in England instead? No problem. With one click you can have your piano delivered to anyone you choose, anywhere in the world.

With simple pricing at $0.10 per kg, along with free pickup and delivery from any location on the planet, it’s hard to pass up."

If you still fall for the trap then you can go ahead and test it and you will go through the following pages.

Sign Up To Test Store Anything Page

Fill Out A Form

And then learn that you have been fooled!

2. Street View

When using Google Street View you can change the view to display (faux?) anachrome 3D images. It can be enabled by clicking on the orange Street View icon, now depicting a man that is wearing Red/Cyan glasses. The man seems happy when wearing the glasses, unhappy when he just has them on his head. [Source: Wikipedia]

Screenshot before wearing glasses

Screenshot after wearing glasses

3. Google Maps Directions For Australia

If you go to Google Maps, Australia and search for directions between two places, e.g. Google's sydney office and the Sydney Opera House you will find the directions (in the left hand column) in typical Australian slang terms. E.g - Keep goin' onto Murray St, Chuck a left when you get to Pyrmont St, Down the end, hang a right onta Ernest St Screenshot below

4. Google Search Results Generated in Different Times

When you perform a Google search and the results show up, you will find that at the top right hand corner of the search results page the time taken to show the results is displayed. This is usually always in seconds. However today the time unit being shown are different and random units are being used such as skidoo, parsec, shakes of a lamb's tail etc. Screeshots below

Search on 'IPL scores' shows time in skidoo

Search on 'My Name Is Khan' shows time in Shake's of a Lamb's Tail

Search on 'Sania Mirza Wedding' shows time in parsecs

5. YouTube Logo Made Out Of ASCII Chart

The logo of YouTube was changed to an ASCII-style one made out of 1s. The Youtube logo is a reference to all the videos having a new quality setting, namely "TEXTp". According to a notice underneath the videos, viewing the video with this quality setting enabled allows YouTube to save one US dollar ($1) per second on bandwidth costs. The notice also remarks on the source of this new "feature", wishing the reader a happy April Fool's Day.

6. Google Translate For Animals

Google also launched it's Animal Translate tool which apparently helps you translate animal languages into human ones. To give it a serious feel the page displayes the following notice

Translate for Animals is an application for Android phones that recognises and transcribes words and phrases that are common to a species, like cats for example. To develop Translate for Animals, we worked closely with many of the world's top language synthesis teams, and with leaders in the field of animal cognitive linguistics, including senior fellows at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Here's what the Animal Translate page looks like, complete with a link to the Android Market. And a tour of Translate for Animals.

7. Google Topeka

The Google logo on the homepage changed itself to Topeka, a town in Kansas. Here's why and here's how it looks.

8. Google Voice

In Google Standard Voicemail mode you can get a feel of the old Voicemail, with messages deleted after 14 days, only access voicemail form your cellphone (no web inbox) and you get the old Voicemail feel again. Here's a screenshot.

9. Evil Bit

Google in it's AJAX API blog mentioned the following

 Beginning today, please include the &evil=true parameter in your API requests if you're one of the bad guys. 

Also, here's an example query which let's Google know if you're using the API for nefarious purposes.

10. Google Wave Notifications

According to this article the new Google Wave wave notifications you can find out if you have a new wave in your inbox, no matter where you are! See the video for more

11. Google Annotations Gallery

The Google Annotations Gallery is an exciting new Java open source library that provides a rich set of annotations for developers to express themselves. Do you find the standard Java annotations dry and lackluster? Have you ever resorted to leaving messages to fellow developers with the @Deprecated annotation? Wouldn't you rather leave a @LOL or @Facepalm instead? If so, then this is the gallery for you.

12. Google Japanese Keyboard

In it's Japan blog Google announced that they are coming up with a Japanese keyboard with Japanese characters.

13. Gmail

The Gmail team decided to remove all the vowels from the Gmail home page, thereby disemvoweling Gmail. Here's the official blog post and screenshot.

14. Chrome

The Chrome team also launched a new Chrome Extension - Chrome Sounds. This apparently does the following:

"Taking an earful of inspiration from the HTML5 audio tag, we’ve spent the past few months deep in psychoacoustic models, the Whittaker-Nyquist-Kotelnikov-Shannon sampling theorem, Franssen effects, Shepard-Risset Tones, and 11.1 surround sound research to build a cutting-edge audio-driven user interface for our users, available through a new Chrome extension. With this extension, Chrome will provide audio feedback as you browse to web pages and interact with the browser."

More details on the official Chrome Blog.

15. Picasa Life Size

Apparently Life Size Picasa can enlarge all of your photos to real life size photos! All details available here.

And after you install the same you can figure out that you have been fooled!

15. Google Books 3D

Following in the footsteps of Google Street View Google Books has also come up with their 3D Books. Here's what the new age books will look like.

You can check this Wikipedia article for a complete list of Google April Fools' hoaxes since 2000. Also, this blog post will be updated as and when we hear about new pranks.


Tanmay Mukherjee said...


Please pass on this message to Sergei and Larry.

From next FY am officially going to change my name from Tanmay to Google.
You heard it right. Now remember how you obliged Topeka.

Expecting consistency and thanking you in advance.


Abhishek said...

"Hilarious stuff here. Google sure does KNOW how to celebrate 1st April. My favourite is the Picassa one." Also the Topeka story is noteworthy. Was also wondering whether Topeka the town made an appearance in a Sherlock Holmes Short Story - The Three Garidebbs. Can you check ?

Sorcerer said...

lol... Google celebrates...almost everything.
nice dig and thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

WOW! Must have taken loads of time! Awesome!