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April 1, 2011

Google April Fools' Day 2011

This year, Google's hoaxes are less inspired and some of them aren't original either, but they're still funny. Here are some of them:

1. Google China invented teleportation. "Through the search is to let Google take you through time and space, most want to reach your arrival time, place, with an immersive way to perceive everything you want to perceive." (machine translation)


2. Gmail Motion is a new way to control Gmail using body language. "To use Gmail Motion, you'll need a computer with a built-in webcam. Once you enable Gmail Motion from the Settings page, Gmail will enable your webcam when you sign in and automatically recognize any one of the detected movements via a spatial tracking algorithm. We designed the movements to be easy and intuitive to perform and consulted with top experts in kinestetics and body movement in devising them."




There's also Google Docs Motion, "a new way to collaborate -- using your body".


Opera had a similar hoax two years ago: Opera Face Gestures.

3. Google hires autocompleters. "Are you passionate about helping people? Are you intuitive? Do you often feel like you know what your friends and family are thinking and can finish their thoughts before they can? Are you an incredibly fast Google searcher? Like, so fast that you can do 20 searches before your mom does 1?" If you have have "good typing skills (at least 32,000 WPM)", you're willing to "relocate to obscure places like Nauru and Tuvalu to develop knowledge of local news and trends" and you have a "certificate in psychic reading", then you can get a job at Google.



4. Search for Helvetica or Comic Sans using Google, and you'll have a little surprise. Google plans to use Comic Sans as the default font across all Google products, but you can use the Comic Sans for Everyone extension to browse the entire World Wide Web using Comic Sans. It's fun, fun, fun.


5. YouTube presents the top viral videos in 1911. "Today, we celebrate 100 years of YouTube, and we thought we would reflect on our inaugural year with a re-print of our first blog post from 1911. In honor of this milestone, today's homepage is a reproduction of how you might have viewed it 100 years ago. Check out some of the most popular videos of the time and be sure to try out our new upload mode which summons a horse-drawn carriage to pick up your video submission from your home."



6. Google Body Browser was replaced by Google Cow.





7. Google will buy Blogger once again. "This morning we're beyond thrilled to announce that Blogger has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Google, the Internet search company. This is exciting news not only for all of us on the Blogger team, but for our users, our partners, and most importantly -- the blogosphere itself."

8. Google AdWords offers a new ad format: Blimp Ads. "Imagine this: a baseball stadium, packed with thousands of fans. A home run flies through the air, and as the crowd looks up, they see your ad, bigger than ever, hand-painted on the side of a majestic blimp. Blimp Ads can make this a reality."


For those who are afraid to try new things, Google brings back old school ads: "Punch the monkey!", "Congratulations, you've won $100,000!", "Click here for smileys", pop-ups and more.

9. Another company has gone Google: Contoso, "a fictional company used by Microsoft as their example company and domain". The explanation is pretty clear: "As a subsidiary of a traditional software company, we went against the grain and switched all 1,200 Contoso employees across nine continents to the cloud. After previously considering Google Apps, we were finally convinced to make the move when Google Docs began supporting the Corsiva font. I still can't find track changes in Docs, but now we can use Corsiva from anywhere, on any device. We decided against Microsoft® Office 365 beta, because we'd heard for years that beta software was too risky."

10. Google Maps and Google Earth added 10 real-world sightings to the maps. "It all started with a recent visit to my friend Nessie in Boston. As I crossed the bridge into town, the car in front of me stopped short so I slammed on the brakes. The cars next to me were also stopped, so I got out to see what was causing the back up. There was a huge, red lobster sitting on the bridge."


Your mission is to find the other 9 sightings.

11. Google Voice Search now supports Pig Latin. "What is Pig Latin you may ask? Wikipedia describes it as a language game where, for each English word, the first consonant (or consonant cluster) is moved to the end of the word and an “ay” is affixed (for example, 'pig' yields 'ig-pay' and 'search' yields 'earch-say')." The nice thing is that this actually works: open Voice Search for Android or Google Search for iPhone, change the language to Pig Latin and try your luck. This English to Pig Latin translator might help.

"To configure Pig Latin Voice Search in your Android phone just go to Settings, select 'Voice input & output settings', and then 'Voice recognizer settings'. In the list of languages you'll see Pig Latin. Just select it and you are ready to roll in the mud! It also works on iPhone with the Google Search app. In the app, tap the Settings icon, then 'Voice Search' and select Pig Latin."

Here's a video that announces the new feature. Watch it and Mike LeBeau's fan club will thank you.



12. Chrome's team came up with Chromercise, a finger fitness program that helps you increase your hands' strength and dexterity. "Some existing finger exercise programs focus on upgrading your digits' cardiovascular strength and musculature; others focus on dexterity. Chromercise's unique blend of aerobic motion and rhythmic accompaniment covers all of the above while simultaneously tightening and toning your fingers' actual appearance," informs Chrome's blog.

Check out the video because it's really funny (probably the funniest Google hoax this year):



13. If Chrome is not fast enough for you, use ChromeLite, an extension that harnesses the power of text-only browsers. "In our never-ending quest for speed, our team members recently gathered to race the latest and greatest browser versions against each other. Much to our surprise, the winning browser was neither the latest version of Chrome nor another modern browser, but was instead an early text-based browser called Lynx," explains Google.

Coincidentally, Lynx was the Google Browser from my 2006 April Fools' joke and 2006 was the year when Google started developing Chrome.


14. Search for [kittens] using a mobile phone and the top results will show a lot more than you expect. Refresh and everything will seem random.



{ Thanks, everyone. }

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