11 April Fools' Day Jokes From Google
Don't believe everything you read on April 1—especially if it's coming from Google. The company is notorious for its April Fools' Day pranks and got a head start this year with Google Maps Pac-Man. Here are a few pranks from past years.
1. Google Maps Pokémon Challenge
Google teamed up with The Pokémon Company and Nintendo to develop an addition to Google Maps that allowed iOS and Android users the option to catch dozens of Pokémon creatures. Users simply had to launch Google Maps, tap "Search," and then "Press Start" next to a blue Pokéball icon to begin the hunt. Pokémon were hidden throughout the entire Google Maps interface.
According to a Google Maps blog posted on March 31, "We value employees who are risk-taking and detail-oriented, have deep technical knowledge, and can navigate through tall grass to capture wild creatures. It turns out that these skills have a lot in common with another profession—that of the Pokémon Master."
2. YouTube Gets "Rickrolled"
On April 1, 2008, all of the featured videos on YouTube UK and Australia took users to the music video for Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" instead of the actual featured video. The YouTube "Rickroll" was the first April Fool's Joke YouTube participated in as a Google-owned company.
In 2014, Google's GPS-based traffic navigation app Waze announced a partnership with Israeli-based dating software developer SingleSpotter to create WazeDates, which, instead of giving traffic updates, purported to help its users find compatible matches for potential dates. According to Waze's website, the service "alerts drivers to other likely singles on the road nearby. Wazers can adjust preferences to search for drivers based on age, sex, orientation and more. Once a desirable driver is found, users simply invite them to a destination by sharing their ride, or use Map Chat to say hello." Sadly, the whole scheme was nothing but an elaborate April Fool's Day joke—SingleSpotter wasn't even a real company.
4. Google Gulp
On April 1, 2005, Google announced Google Gulp, a new line of "smart" beverages that came in four flavors: Glutamate Grape, Sugar-Free Radical, Beta Carroty, and Sero-Tonic Water. Google Gulp was "designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty." It was a limited release beverage and only "available" if you returned a Gulp bottle cap to your local grocery store.
6. AutoAwesome for Resumes
In 2014, Google's April Fools prank was AutoAwesome for Resumes, a web tool that allowed users to spruce up their boring resumes with lively templates, emojis, and animation. Users would simply have to upload their resumes or CV to Google Drive and select hundreds of preset AutoAwesome features and options. The program also matched users with potential new jobs at Google based on their resumes.
4. Google Maps 8-Bit for NES
On April 1, 2012, Google announced a partnership with video game developers Square Enix to create Google Maps 8-bit for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Google Maps 8-bit for NES resembled a side-scrolling role playing game such as The Legend of Zelda and the original Final Fantasy. Instead of receiving a Nintendo cartridge from the Play Store, Google encouraged users to simply go to Google Maps online and click the "Quest" button to get the 8-bit version of the Internet service. The company also joked that a mobile version for the Nintendo GameBoy was in the works, too.
7. The YouTube Collection
In 2012, YouTube announced that it would start shipping the YouTube Collection—every YouTube video ever made on DVD with special comment index cards and green thumbs up stickers to like and red thumbs down stickers to dislike the videos. On the official YouTube Collection site, buyers filled out a Google Form to order the DVD set. After submitting the request, the page read, "Your order has been placed. Due to heavy demand, your anticipated delivery date is: JUNE 16, 2045," followed by, in smaller text, "Also, April Fools."
8. Google Translate for Emoji
Google built Emoji translations into Google Translate for Chrome on Android and iOS. On April 1, 2014, a “Translate to Emoji” option was included on all Chrome browsers, allowing users to convert text into fun symbols and facial expressions. Google's Emojify the Web campaign allowed people to consume Internet content "using efficient and emotive illustrations, instead of cumbersome text."
9. Google Fiber Bar
As Google started to roll out Google Fiber—the company's broadband internet and cable television service—to a number of cities across the United States, it also launched Google Fiber Bar as a way to build awareness of faster Internet speeds and good health. Google Fiber Bar was an energy and protein bar that purported to deliver "what the body needs to sustain activity, energy, and productivity."
“As we started thinking about fiber,” said Kevin Lo, General Manager of Google Access, “we realized that there hadn’t been real innovation in the fiber world in a very long time.” The bars weren't real, of course.
10. Google Nose
On April 1, 2013, Google announced Google Nose BETA for Chrome and Android, a web service that supposedly allowed users to search for specific smells and scents across Google's search index. Google claimed to use an advanced algorithm to recreate the smell and deliver the scent through the user's computer or mobile device.
11. Gmail Blue
On April 1, 2013, Google announced Gmail Blue, which made everything about Gmail...blue.