April Fool’s Day is officially in full gear, meaning you need to be on high alert when skimming the news today. Like previous years, big Internet players jumped on the opportunity to play practical jokes on their users. Be it a Kinect-like Gmail interface, Geocities-hosted Hulu, or YouTube’s first blog post from 1911 with President William Howard Taft as a guest blogger, worry not – we have you covered with our selection of the best April 1 jokes. Don’t forget to share your own favorites in the comments.
So, today is April Fool’s day and also Apple’s 35th birthday. It’s not a joke, the company was launched on April 1, 1976. The Network World has a great selection of past Apple-related April 1 jokes. One of our favorite, which Cult of Mac re-ran today, is that Steve Jobs is rumored to be resigning from Apple. There are a couple of good ones made by fans, like this short video tutorial on how to unlock iOS 4.3.1 in less than three seconds. Over at PCMag it’s an Apple fest with the headlines ranging from “Angry Birds: Miami Launches” to a fanboy opinion piece by columnist Dan Costa entitled “The Genius Behind Apple’s Incredible Awesomeness.”
While we’re at Angry Birds, ThinkGeek has delicious Angry Birds Pork Rings on sale and you’ve probably seen by now their awesome Playmobil Apple Store Playset, pictured below, along with the keynote theater with Steve Jobs giving a keynote. Like any Apple product, it’s appropriately priced at “just” $179.99.
Next up, Google jokes. Take Gmail Motion, a new feature that lets you compose and reply to messages in Gmail using your body. It works pretty straightforward, Google digresses. All you need is a computer with a built-in webcam. Just log in to to the Gmail web interface and enable Gmail Motion from the Settings page to have Gmail automatically recognize your body movements via – wait till you hear this – “a spatial tracking algorithm.” Putting cherry on top, Google says it consulted with “top experts in kinestetics and body movement” in devising the movements.
For the suits, there’s Google Docs Motion BETA that launches “later this year” with over a ten thousand supported gestures and emotion detection that automatically applies the appropriate writing tone to your documents that corresponds with emotions. Just in case you have any doubts, Ada Wong, a Google Docs Motion Head Tester, provides this testimonial: “It’s become an important part of keeping myself fit.”
If you think those were fads, how about improving finger dexterity for faster browsing in a new Google Chrome version? The fact that the average user clocks in 33 words per minute has prompted Google to research the state of finger speed and performance. The result?
Chromercise, an exercise regimen for your hands and fingers that’s a “unique blend of aerobic motion and rhythmic accompaniment covers all of the above while simultaneously tightening and toning your fingers’ actual appearance.” I like it how they encourage the use of finger sweatbands throughout “for your comfort and the safety of those around you.”
Google Voice fans may want to try out the Voice-alyzer feature that prompts you to spell complex words with your keypad, like “embarrassed”, “dizzy” or “Czechoslovakia”, before connecting your call. And what’s the pitch, you ask. Take it from Tina Donaldson, an Anti-Embarrassment Enforcement Officer with Google:
Ever wake up after a long night and see you called a bunch of exes but don’t remember what you said? We’re sure you haven’t, but, well, we’ve heard it happens. Quite a bit. That’s why we’re excited to announce that today we’re launching the Voice-alyzer setting to hopefully prevent this from ever happening again.
As a bonus, the feature scans helds your outgoing text messages if “fat-fingered words or more than 2 exclamation points or question marks are detected.” A YouTube 1911 button is my favorite. In a celebration of 100 years of YouTube, the feature automagically transforms your clip to an old motion picture with classic piano soundtrack, as seen in the below video.
In a re-print of YouTube’s first blog post from 1911, guest blogger President William Howard Taft celebrated the official site launch by taking note of “a very enterprising time in America”:
The Pedro Miguel Locks have just been completed as part of the Panama Canal, there are Nobel Prize rumors circulating around regarding Ms. Curie’s so-called “radium discovery”, and J.P. Morgan is building a steamship they say is unsinkable. Very enterprising times, indeed. One can only imagine what events will be recorded for all the world to see.
Those dreaming of working for Google may now apply for a Google Autocompleter. The position comes with all the perks of working at Google’s Mountain View headquarters. You’ll be tasked with providing instant suggestions for users’ search querries. And you thought the autocomplete heavy lifting was the result of Google’s vast computing power stemming from their datacenters…
Hungry for more? How about the Hulu.com homepage hosted on Geocities? Reminiscent of the old Netscape days with HTML frames, the site comes with the obligatory “under construction” note.
Also, the news that The Huffington Post is raising a pay wall specifically for the New York Times employees fooled many people this morning. For even greater selection of April Fool’s jokes check out an extensive roundup over at TechCrunch.