The Who's Who of Silicon Valley tech companies all played April Fool Pranks: Google, Twitter, Swiftkey, Microsoft, Aerohive. Find out what they were and why techies love a good gag. Scott Budman reports.
The end of YouTube, smell-enabled Google search, Twitter paywall, bacon mouthwash. If these ideas sound like jokes, that's because they are.
Monday is April Fools' Day and cheeky marketers and companies have peppered the web with fake campaigns, products and services leading up to and on April 1 to dupe the masses on this fun-filled day. Twitter, Procter & Gamble and Metro News have all jumped in on the action, and Google is leading the pack with nine ruses to get people laughing.
American Eagle Outfitters got an early start when they launched the Skinny Skinny Jeans, a new line of denim wear that shoppers can spray paint onto their bodies.
Google Nose Beta - Ever wondered what a ghost smells like? How about the sweet smell of success? Google's latest product is touted as Smell-O-Vision for the web, and its intention is to fill a void in the web search experience: the ability to convey the scent of an object or idea with the click of a button. "In the fast-paced world that we live in, we don't always have time to stop and smell the roses," said Google's product manager Jon Wooly in a YouTube video announcement. "Now with Google Nose, the roses are just a click away."
Google also announced the launch of "Treasure Mode" on Google Maps to allow users to search for clues on the whereabouts of William "Captain" Kidd's treasure. There are also Gmail Blue, Google+ Photo Emoticons, Google SCHMICK (Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit) and a new Levity Algorithm app that allows workers to spruce up their work days with "algorithmically determined suggestions from the database." This means "employee reviews" on Google Calendar can turn into "peanut butter jelly time," an email entitled "HR Memo" can be changed to "The New Hotness" and a boring PowerPoint presentation can be embellished with flames and sound effects just by clicking the app's levity button.
Goodbye, YouTube - YouTube made a video to announce that the time had come to shut down the website and enlisted some of the site's most famous Internet celebrities to determine the best video ever created. Antoine Dodson, who had warned his neighbors to "hide your kids, hide your wife," world traveler Matt Harding of "Where the Hell is Matt?" and David Devore Jr., the loopy kid who recovered from dental surgery in the back seat of his dad's car, are up for the grand prize. "My dad put a lot of money into this dental surgery that I didn't even need just so we can win this contest," Devore said in the video.
I'd Like to Buy a Vowel - Twitter announced the launch of their new basic service "Twttr," which limits users to tweets with consonants only. But for $5 a month, Twitter will enable the use of vowels. "We’re doing this because we believe that by eliminating vowels, we’ll encourage a more efficient and 'dense' form of communication," wrote Kevin Weil, the microblogging site's Director of Product Revenue. Click here to let Twitter to help you convert tweets into the new format.
Twyttyr? Why byy vywyls whyn yyy gyt "Y" fyr fryy? Syckyrs! #nvwls
— Joan Rivers (@Joan_Rivers) April 1, 2013
A Prank Wrapped in an Enigma, Wrapped in a Prank - The U.K.'s Metro News did its own round-up of all the April Fools' jokes from other news sites. "Pope Francis shuns traditional Popemobile for austere alternative," reads one headline from The Guardian. Another from the BBC said, "Nasa's Curiosity rover quits Twitter after abuse from trolls." But try searching for these fake stories on those news sites, and readers will quickly discover the wrinkle: This round-up is fake. None of the pranks actually appeared on any of those news sites. “Too lazy and unimaginative to make up their own April Fools’ jokes, this year Metro simply decided to fake ten entirely fictional pranks other people didn’t do instead," Metro News wrote at the bottom of the round-up.
Bacon for Your Breath - Procter and Gamble has jumped into the April Fools' fray with the introduction of its new Bacon Scope mouthwash. The product "just tastes like bacon while you swish but leaves your breath smelling minty fresh five times longer than brushing alone," according to its website. The mouthwash has been dismissed as a prank, but the company has been playing it straight and insisting that the product is real.
— ScopeMouthwash (@ScopeMouthwash) April 1, 2013