20 April Fools’ Must-See Websites From Google to Sony to YouTube
By Christina DesMarais
Web surfers are getting a glimpse of fake Google products, pictures of cats instead of ads and a purported Sony laptop the size of a quarter — all spurred by April Fools’ Day.
With so many amusing tricks, falsehoods and fabrications on the Internet, it could be hard to find the best ones.
PCWorld has done the work for you. Here are 20 website gems you’ll find online Sunday for some great entertainment and fun.
You’re probably familiar with Google’s self-driving cars that have already logged more than 200,000 miles on American roadways. But now co-founder Sergey Brin announced that the company is taking that technology to the next level by forming a new racing division in a partnership with NASCAR.
The announcement looks so legit it has had some people wondering if it’s for real. It isn’t, of course.
Brin writes in the Google blog: “Having skidded around a parking lot last week myself, I’m pretty sure that none of those test miles were as hard as it will be for one of our cars to hold its own in a field of 43 jacked-up, 800-horsepower beasts screaming down a straightaway within inches of each other at upwards of 200 mph.”
A video featuring Brin says an autonomous racecar will be entered in competition by the middle of next season.
AdBlock, the popular Google Chrome extension that blocks ads from showing up on the websites you visit, has temporarily replaced ads with adorable pictures of cats.
AdBlock developer Michael Gundlach wrote in his blog that because of the tremendous popularity of CatBlock, he will make a standalone version for people who will support it with a monthly payment. No joke — that’s for real.
Chrome Multitask Mode
While you might think using two mice at once and making use of your other hand might be confusing, Google says it will feel completely natural in no time.
In fact, with Chrome Multitask Mode you can use as many mice as you can hook up to your computer. That’d be nice if it were actually true, but it’s fun to think about, for a day anyways.
As Google puts it on its Chrome page, you can “Play a game while you design a presentation. Purchase land while you meet the love of your life.”
Sony’s Tiny Ultrabook
At the size of a quarter, the Sony VAIO Q is billed as the world’s smallest Ultrabook yet boasts 8GB of RAM, full HD 1080p resolution, AMD Radeon HD 6650M (1GB) graphics and the sharpest screen on the market available.
It’s the cutest thing — if only it was real — and the enthusiastic engineer in the promotional video seen here unveils it from his front shirt pocket.
Realizing the silliness of trying to cram an entire 26-key keyboard onto a smartphone, Google is replacing QWERTY with Morse code.
With only two keys, you can use Gmail Tap to send messages in the Gmail application using just dots and dashes.
Not only that but Google Tap offers a multitasking mode that gives you two Morse code keyboards at once so you can send two different messages to two separate recipients at once.
“I think the people who will be best served by Gmail Tap will be people with fat fingers,” says Google engineer Mitch Fedenko in the company’s promotional video.
What happens if you have thin fingers? The Gmail gag makes for a good giggle anyways, as you can see here.
Reddit users are having an April Fools’ blast with a new Reddit timeline bar on the social news site’s front page.
Knocking off the look of Facebook’s Timeline, you can adopt portions of the timeline and post timereddits time stamped in the past, present or future. Head back to 800 B.C., for example, and you can see an illustration of the Trojan Horse titled “It’s a trap!” or skip ahead to 2022 and you’ll find one called “Half Life: Episode 3 Released.”
The Reddit blog warns people not to violate intergalactic law, because “exposing past peoples to knowledge from the future can be extremely dangerous, and even risk temporal paradox.”
Emulating old Squaresoft (now Square-Enix) games from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) era, Google unveiled a new way to view Maps — in an 8-bit version.
To view pixilated versions of your maps, visit Google Maps and click the ‘Quest’ option at the top right corner of the page. From there, you’ll see the transformation and possibly even find hidden monsters.
Oh, what fun.
Voice of Hulu
Some ads can be fun, so you might want to use the ad blocker sparingly.
Hulu sent an April Fools’ Day email that reads, “Apologies for the confusion, but we had a minor mix-up on this fine first day of April. The ‘Voice of Hulu’ had a rough recording day recently and somehow his outtakes snuck into some of our ad slates. As users come to Hulu, random ads may surface. Please excuse our hiccup and enjoy your regularly scheduled programming.”
In one jokester ad, The Voice repeated the “Unique New York” tongue twister several times before stumbling into an introduction of a TV clip.
For those times when you can’t get online, the YouTube Collection gives you DVD access to every video ever uploaded to the site since 2005.
When you sign up, YouTube will dispatch 175 trucks to deliver the collection to your door. Videos also come with paper thumbs so you can send up or down votes to video creators via snail mail.
If this were real, it would add another dimension to the piracy debate.
Here’s a peek at the gag.
Toshiba One-Eyed 3D Device
3D still hasn’t gone mainstream, but Toshiba says using one eye to take it in is the way to go.
Its 3D monocle is the first and only one in the world (no wonder, since it’s a joke) and was created by melding two triangular polarizing lenses in parallel then encasing them in black-plated tungsten carbide.
And to make the eye piece comfortable, Toshiba molded it into the shape of an average human eye hole. The man in the photograph actually looks like he’s on a one-way trip to a migraine.
Kangaroos Instead of Cars
According to the Official Google Australia blog, in a faux project dubbed Street Roo, the company will be equipping more than 1000 kangaroos with 360-degree head cameras so as to capture images from the remote Australian outback.
The cameras will be powered by solar panels stitched into the back pocket of custom-made roo jackets that leave the marsupial’s own pouch accessible for the joey. Can’t imagine how the hopping video will turn out? Google says it has developed software to smooth it out. Images will be wired to Google in real-time. Right.
Twilio, a web-service API for developers, has released a working API for sending hand-delivered telegrams.
As Twilio software engineer Chris Corcoran tweets, “You can’t frame a text message.”
To dispatch one of Twilio’s “horses” with a telegram, you need to make an HTTP POST request and include parameters such as Horse Type, FeedBeforeDeploy, Singing, ArmMessenger and FillFlask.
“The FillFlask attribute takes the values whiskey, xxx, and false. If you fill your messenger’s flask, you may increase the chance of a 504 error, but you will reduce the chance of a delayed message due to unexpected saloon stops. The default is whiskey,” is one note on Twilio’s telegram API page.
Now, that’s a sobering gag if we’ve ever seen one.
More Good Ones
There are many more good sites circulating on April Fools’ Day.