Google's 2011 April Fools Day Gags

A human autocompleter, Google teleport, gesture-based e-mail and more.

The Background

Perhaps more than any other tech company, Google loves April Fools Day. This year, Google introduced a human autocompleter, a teleport service and gesture-based email among its many hoaxes. Let's take a look.

Other April Fools' day pranks:

Last year's Google pranks

Google's autocomplete ditches algorithms for humans who type 32,000 words a minute

10 funny April Fools' pranks

The Latest Career Path at Google: Autocompleter

When Google automatically completes a word you're typing in its search box, that's not an algorithm adding those letters - that's a real person. A real person with the job "autocompleter." "On a good day I average about 34,000 words per minute," says one Google autocompleter, who started out as a "spellchecker." Google's April Fools ad for a new autocompleting job, says "You'll be expected to successfully guess a user's intention as he or she starts typing instantly. In a fraction of a second, you'll need to type in your prediction that will be added to the list of suggestions given by Google. Don't worry, after a few million predictions you'll grow the required reflexes."

Gesture-Based E-mail

Gmail Motion, in beta, is a new project that gets rid of outdated technologies like the keyboard and mouse. "Using your computer's camera and spatial tracking algorithms, Gmail Motion interprets physical movement and turns it into actionable commands," a Google exec explains. Want to open an email? Make a gesture as if you're opening an envelope. Want to type something? Just make some hand gestures and bodily movements. Gmail will know exactly what you're trying to say.

YouTube 1911

YouTube has been around a heck of a lot longer than you thought. YouTube 1911, a video showing the top films from 100 years ago, has some talking fruit, old-timey piano music, subtitles, a "Ruth Roll," and a flugelhorn-playing cat. There's also a new button on each real video that turns it into grainy old-looking footage with piano music.

Google Teleport

This page is written in Chinese so we'll have to rely on Google's own computer-generated translation. It's a search engine that lets "Google take you through time and space."

Google Body Browser Replaced With a Cow

If you search for Google's body browser, which usually lets you explore the human body, you'll now reach the "Google Cow" site where you can examine the body of a cow.

Dragons and Sharks, Oh My!

If you look up the Palatinate Forest in Germany on Google Maps, you'll see a dragon. At IJmeer, a lake in the Netherlands, you'll see a shark.


Are your fingers too slow to surf the Web? Google has a Richard Simmons-esque set of exercises to get your hands into proper point-and-click shape. There's even a disturbing video with fingers doing the "Chromercise."

April Fools' related stories:

Last year's Google pranks

Google's autocomplete ditches algorithms for humans who type 32,000 words a minute

10 funny April Fools' pranks

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