List of Google hoaxes and easter eggs

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Google has a tradition of perpetrating hoaxes, especially on April Fools' Day, as well as various easter eggs.

Contents

Easter eggs[edit]

Google has added some Easter eggs to its products and services to entertain and amuse users.

Search Engine[edit]

Calculator[edit]

Google Maps and Google Earth[edit]

Google homepage[edit]

Gmail[edit]

Google Translate[edit]

Android[edit]

Android applications[edit]

Chromecast[edit]

The model numbers for the Chromecast unit and its power adapter read H2G2-42 and MST3K-US, respectively.

YouTube[edit]

Other[edit]

  Be wary of:  Surveillance by secret agents  People standing behind you 

April Fools' hoaxes[edit]

2000[edit]

Google's first April Fools' Day hoax, the MentalPlex hoax, invited users to project a mental image of what they wanted to find whilst staring at an animated gif.[56] Several humorous error messages[57] were then displayed on the search results page,[58] all listed below:

  1. Error 001: Weak or no signal detected. Upgrade transmitter and retry.
  2. Error 666: Multiple transmitters detected. Silence voices in your head and try again.
  3. Error 01: Brainwaves received in analog. Please re-think in digital.
  4. Error 8P: Unclear on whether your search is about money or monkeys. Please try again.
  5. Error 005: Searching on this topic is prohibited under international law.
  6. Error CKR8: That information is protected under the National Security Act.
  7. Error 144: That information was lost with the Martian Lander. Please try again.
  8. Error 006: Query is unclear. Try again after removing hat, glasses and shoes.
  9. Error 008: Interference detected. Remove aluminum foil and remote control devices.
  10. Error: Insufficient conviction. Please clap hands 3 times, while chanting "I believe" and try again.
  11. Error: MentalPlex(tm) has determined that this is not your final answer. Please try again.

2002[edit]

Google reveals the technology behind its PageRank Systems—PigeonRank. Google touts the benefits of this cost-effective and efficient means of ranking pages and reassures readers that there is no animal cruelty involved in the process. The article makes many humorous references and puns based on computer terminology and how Google PageRank really works, (for example, a chart showing the pigeons' consumption of linseed and flax, represented as "Lin/Ax Kernels," a pun on the Linux kernel).[60]

2004[edit]

Fictitious job opportunities for a research center on the moon. Luna/X (a pun to Linux and the Latin word for moon, as well as a reference to both the Windows XP visual style and Mac OS X) is the name of a new operating system they claimed to have created for working at the research center.

2005 [edit]

Google Gulp, a fictitious drink, was announced by Google in 2005. According to the company, this beverage would optimize one's use of the Google search engine by increasing the drinker's intelligence. It was claimed this boost was achieved through real-time analysis of the user's DNA and carefully tailored adjustments to neurotransmitters in the brain (a patented technology termed Auto-Drink; as the "Google Gulp FAQ" suggests, partly through MAO inhibition). The drink was said to come in "4 great flavors": Glutamate Grape (glutamic acid), Sugar-Free Radical (free radicals), Beta Carroty (beta carotene), and Sero-Tonic Water (serotonin).[63]

This hoax was probably intended as a parody of Google's then invite-only email service called Gmail. Although ostensibly free, the company claimed the beverage could only be obtained by returning the cap of a Google Gulp bottle to a local grocery store: a causal loop. In the Google Gulp FAQ, Google replies to the observation "I mean, isn't this whole invite-only thing kind of bogus?" by saying "Dude, it's like you've never even heard of viral marketing."

2006[edit]

Google Romance logo

On April Fool's Day 2006, Google Romance was announced on the main Google search page with the introduction, "Dating is a search problem. Solve it with Google Romance." It pretends to offer a "Soulmate Search" to send users on a "Contextual Date". A parody of online dating, it had a link for "those who generally favor the 'throw enough stuff at the wall' approach to online dating" to Post multiple profiles with a bulk upload file, you sleaze in addition to Post your Google Romance profile. Clicking on either of these gave an error page, which explained that it was an April Fool's joke and included links to previous April Fool's jokes.

2007[edit]

Gmail Paper[edit]

At about 10:00 pm, Pacific time (where Google has its headquarters) on March 30, 2007, Google changed the login page for Gmail to announce a new service called Gmail Paper. The service offered to allow users of Google's free webmail service to add e-mails to a "Paper Archive", which Google would print (on "96% post-consumer organic soybean sputum") and mail via traditional post. The service would be free, supported by bold, red advertisements printed on the back of the printed messages. Image attachments would also be printed on high-quality glossy paper, though MP3 and WAV files would not be printed. The page detailing more information about the service features photographs of Ian Spiro and Carrie Kemper, current employees of Google. Also featured are Product Marketing Managers of Gmail Anna-Christina Douglas, and Shane Lawrence.

Google TiSP[edit]

Google TiSP (short for Toilet Internet Service Provider) was a fictitious free broadband service supposedly released by Google. This service would make use of a standard toilet and sewage lines to provide free Internet connectivity at a speed of 8 Mbit/s (2 Mbit/s upload) (or up to 32 Mbit/s with a paid plan). The user would drop a weighted end of a long, Google-supplied fiber-optic cable in their toilet and flush it. Around 60 minutes later, the end would be recovered and connected to the Internet by a "Plumbing Hardware Dispatcher (PHD)". The user would then connect their end to a Google-supplied wireless router and run the Google-supplied installation media on a Windows XP or Windows Vista computer ("Mac and Linux support coming soon"). Alternatively, a user could request a professional installation, in which Google would deploy nanobots through the plumbing to complete the process. The free service would be supported by "discreet DNA sequencing" of "personal bodily output" to display online ads that relate to culinary preferences and personal health. Google also referenced the diet coke-and-Mentos reaction in their FAQ: "If you're still experiencing problems, drop eight mints into the bowl and add a two-liter bottle of diet soda."

2008[edit]

Blogger "Google Weblogs (beta)"[edit]

The Blogger dashboard featured an announcement for Google Weblogs, or "GWeblogs," or "Gblogs," the next revolution in personal publishing. Features include algorithms putting the user's best content at the top of the user's blog (rather than publishing by reverse chronology), automatically populating the blog's sidebar with the most relevant content, posting directly into Google search results for maximum visibility, blog headers refreshed with images from Google's team of artists for anniversaries of a scientific achievement (similar to Google Doodle), and automatic content generation ('Unsure of what to post about? Just click "I'm Feeling Lucky" and we'll "take care" of the rest!')

The announcement was followed by a link to a video tour of the product, which actually led to Tay Zonday's cover of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Dajare[edit]

Google launches Dajare in Japan (google.co.jp), with the mission of "organizing the world's laughter."[78]

gDay[edit]

Google announced gDay in Australia, a new beta search technology that will search web pages 24 hours before they are created.[79] The name is a play on the phrase "g'day".

Gmail Custom Time[edit]

Gmail's sign-in page and a banner at the top of each Gmail inbox announced a new feature, called Gmail Custom Time, that would allow its users to "pre-date" their messages and choose to have the message appear as "read" or "unread". The new feature uses the slogan "Be on time. Every time."

Around 11:00 pm EST March 31, 2008, on the newer and older version of Gmail, but not in the basic HTML version, in the upper right corner, next to Settings, a link appeared labeled, "New! Gmail Custom Time". The link led to a 404 error until April 1,[81][82] when it led to the full Gmail Custom Time hoax page.[83] Clicking any of the three links at the bottom of the page brought the user to a page stating that Gmail Custom time was, in fact, their April Fool's Day joke.

Google Book Search Scratch and Sniff[edit]

Google Book Search has a new section allowing users to "scratch and sniff" certain books. Users are asked to "...please place your nose near the monitor and click 'Go'", which then "loads odors". When clicking on "Help", users are redirected to a page in a book that describes the origins of April Fools' Day.[84]

Google Calendar is Feeling Lucky[edit]

Google added the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button to its calendar feature. When a user tries to create a new event, the user was given the regular option of entering the correct details and hitting "Create Event", and also the new option of "I'm Feeling Lucky" which would set the user up with an evening date with, among others, Matt Damon, Eric Cartman, Tom Cruise, Jessica Alba, Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, Anna Kournikova, Johnny Depp, George W. Bush, or Lois Griffin.

Google Manpower Search[edit]

Google launches Manpower Search (谷歌人肉搜索) in China (google.cn). The feature was presented as being powered by 25 million volunteers who conducted searches around the clock. When the user entered a keyword, volunteers would search any possible answers from a mass of paper documents as well as online resources. The user was expected to get the search result within 32 seconds. The "search" button would avoid the user's cursor.

Google Talk[edit]

Google announced plans to, on April 22, 2008 (Earth Day), shorten all conversations over Google Talk thereby reducing the energy required to transmit chats in an effort to reduce carbon output.

Google Wake Up Kit[edit]

Google launched their "Wake Up Kit" as a calendar notification option.

The 'wake up' notification uses several progressively more annoying alerts to wake one up. First it will send an SMS message to their phone. If that fails, more coercive means will be used. The kit includes an industrial-sized bucket and is designed to be connected to their water main for automatic filling. In addition, a bed-flipping device is included for forceful removal from their sleeping quarters.

Virgle[edit]

Main article: Virgle
Virgle Logo

Google announced a joint project with the Virgin Group to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. This operation has been named Project Virgle.[87] The announcement includes videos of Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group) as well as Larry Page and Sergey Brin (the founders of Google) on YouTube, talking about Virgle.[88] An "application" to join the settlement includes questions such as:

I am a world-class expert in:

  1. Physics
  2. First Aid
  3. Engineering
  4. Guitar Hero III

After the user submitted the application, the site notifies the user that the user is not fit for space, or that the user's application is fine and "all you have to do is submit your video" [as a response to their video on YouTube]. As a result, an open source Virgle group has been established, OpenVirgle.[89] On the FAQ page, the final question is "Okay, come on – seriously. Is this Virgle thing for real?" The reply links to a page that tells the user it's an April Fool's joke, and then mentions that the user "Dragged us out of our lovely little fantasy world, to crush all our hopes and dreams."[90]

Yogurt[edit]

Yogurt

Google's Orkut displayed its name as yogurt, Google Bang, Inc.

YouTube[edit]

On April 1, 2008, all featured videos on the UK and Australian homepages, and later, all international homepages, of Google-owned YouTube linked to a video of Rick Astley's song "Never Gonna Give You Up", causing all users of the website who clicked on featured videos to be Rickrolled.

This was the first year YouTube participated in Google's April Fool's Day tradition. If you search "Harlem Shake" the YouTube sign in the top-left corner will start doing the Harlem shake and when it says "Do the Harlem Shake" then everything else on the screen will, too.

2009[edit]

Google runs on Microsoft Windows IIS/3.0[edit]

google.com.au reported as if it ran on IIS/3.0[92] and google.com on Apache/0.8.4[93] (on Linux).

CADIE[edit]

The announcement of CADIE was made on 31 March 2009 11:59 pm by the CADIE Team, not on April 1. The announcement on the Google blog was made at 2009/04/01 12:01:00 am.

The introduction page and all of the references to CADIE in Google's Products were taken down on April 2, replaced with a message stating'

We apologize for the recent disruption(s) to our service(s).

Please stand by while order is being restored.

However the technology page describing the technical capabilities of the software remained at: Technical Description [94]

When using Google Books or GMail, a user would come across an announcement dated March 31, 2009 at 11:59:59, declaring a new "Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity". CADIE is also mentioned[95] on the gBall FAQ page: "Google's new CADIE technology will interpret the data obtained from each ball to provide useful tips to owners". There was also a link on Google's Homepage[96] for CADIE, and a blog entry[97] in Google's official blog.

CADIE technology is also used to generate "senryu"[98] (a type of Japanese poem similar to haiku) based on search terms for certain Japanese queries.

The Google Search homepage[99] had a link to the CADIE announcement,[100] stating that "For several years now a small research group has been working on some challenging problems in the areas of neural networking, natural language and autonomous problem-solving. Last fall this group achieved a significant breakthrough: a powerful new technique for solving reinforcement learning problems, resulting in the first functional global-scale neuro-evolutionary learning cluster." The page links to the blog below.

On mobile devices, a link shows up to Brain Search,[101] which uses CADIE technology to "index your brain". This[dead link] is what it all looks like from a mobile device.

Gmail[edit]

When one is using the Gmail service, they will notice that it has a new option,[102] named "Gmail Autopilot" in which the service would analyze an email. On that page it says under the FAQ section,"You can adjust tone, typo propensity, and preferred punctuation from the Autopilot tab under Settings." However, if a person logs into their Gmail account and goes under the Settings tab they will notice that there is no Autopilot tab. The program could be customised to contain certain types of grammatical or spelling errors, as well as complexity and length of the sentence. It also has a way of responding to relationship related messages, such as if someone spoke aggressively, even in a humorous way, the system would "terminate relationship."

gBall[edit]

Google Australia announced the development of a ball that will change how Australian Football is played the world over. The newest football technology—"gBall"[103] —is a prototype ball for use in the Australian Football League with GPS.

Google Australia[104] announced ("New! Get the newest football technology – gBall.") that they are developing a prototype ball[105] for use in the Australian Football League with GPS. Apparently, the ball will measure the location, force, and torque of a kick, and "vibrate if player agents or talent scouts want to speak to you". Google claimed that the ball will cost $10 with a cost-per-kick set of payments in addition to the basic fee.

Google Analytics[edit]

A blog post to the Google Analytics Blog investigates the analytics reports of CADIEs activities.[106]

Google Maps[edit]

Google's CADIE has a recommended places to visit using Google Maps. Viewing "CADIE's recommended places for humans"[107] one will see each of her suggested places listed, that, when clicked, displays a photo and humorous commentary.

There is also a "CADIE's recommended places for humans"[108] link in Google Maps, which leads to the "Panda Mapplet" and includes several marked locations with "CADIE's" commentary. Under Redmond WA a link is listed which will rick roll the viewer.

Blogger[edit]

CADIE's personal blog/homepage[109]

Google Chrome with 3D[edit]

Screenshot of Wikipedia.org on April 2, 2009 using Chrome "3-D". Note the red/blue glasses toggle switch at the top of the browser

A home of Google Mail was offered rendering web pages in Anaglyph 3D, "powered" by CADIE. A 3D effect was actually possible with this browser, but it only made the window appear to be sunken into the monitor.

Google Earth Powered by CADIE[edit]

Google announced a new Google Earth powered by CADIE,[111] which claimed to allow the user to see ocean terrain imagery from the world's most advanced submarine, explore the deep sea, soar with CADIE in real time, view CADIE's Recommended Summer Vacation, and chat with CADIE, among other options.

Google Code[edit]

The Google Code Search homepage[112] is featuring LOLCODE examples.

CADIE is set to write code by itself[113] based on specified features; however all that is returned is bad code or witty criticisms of the user's request and choice of programing language, recommending the use of INTERCAL.

CADIE's source code was supposedly uploaded to Google Code,[114][115] but she changed her mind and replaced it with a "fun program"[116] consisting of 31 lines of INTERCAL. When executed, this program prints out the message "I do not shake

Google Book Search[edit]

CADIE recommends some books at Google Book Search homepage.[117] Also, when viewing a book, there is a Generate book report button. When clicked it says "Gotcha! It's April Fools' Day! Sorry, but you'll have to actually read the book yourself."

Google Docs on Demand[edit]

Google has announced new Google Docs features[118] enhanced by CADIE
Add subliminal messages and images to documents.
If a person makes a new presentation and looks for the subliminal message and image buttons under the insert menu they will notice it is not there.
[119]

Google Mobile[edit]

Google Mobile has a link to "Brain Search".[120] The instructions are to "Put phone to forehead for brain indexing" and "Think your query". When the user clicks "Try Now", a page loads with "Brain indexing" status. When indexing is complete, a button comes up with "search me". By clicking this button, the user is directed to fake search results. There are several possible results:

Google Knol[edit]

Knol was updated so that all of the featured articles were about Artificial Intelligence, with a message from CADIE indicating that this "improvement" was for the good of mankind.

HTTP Headers[edit]

In keeping with the CADIE theme Google has altered the server HTTP header to contain the name of various AI entities, including HAL 9000, WOPR, and GLaDOS.[126]

Other server HTTP headers found were IIS/Bob (a reference to Microsoft Bob), IIS/Clippy (a reference to Clippy), IIS/3.0, Netscape iPlanet, Chrome/3.0, Google Operating System (BETA), CERN/3.0 (a reference to CERN HTTPd), Apple (a reference to Apple II), IRIX, MCP, Apache/0.8.4, Conficker, and Skynet.

Oil Tanker Data Center[edit]

During the last minutes of Google's Data Center Efficiency Summit,[127] Urs Hoelzle presented in a "special topic": Google had bought an oil tanker, the "M/S Sergey", where Google's data center containers were being submerged in oil tanks to enable extremely high-efficiency cooling. The presentation can be seen in the video on YouTube, and includes slightly customized Wikipedia images from the article Oil tanker, including a retouched photo of commercial oil tanker AbQaiq and the oil tankers side view graphic.

Even though Google did apply for a US patent to build data centers on cargo ships[128] and oil cooling is an existing technology, summit attendee James Hamilton believed this topic to be an April Fools joke.[citation needed] The ship's name "M/S Sergey" is also likely to be a pun on Google's co-founder Sergey Brin.

2010[edit]

Google and Topeka, Kansas, Switch Places [edit]

In early March, the city of Topeka, Kansas, temporarily changed its name to Google in an attempt to capture a spot in Google's new broadband/fiber-optics project. Then, on April 1 (April Fools' Day), Google jokingly announced that it would be changing its name to Topeka, to "honor that moving gesture" and changed its home page to say Topeka in place of the Google logo.[129]

Google Books available in Anachrome 3D[edit]

Google books introduced a feature which allows any book to be read in 3D, assuming the viewer has appropriate glasses. It was enabled by clicking the "View in 3D" button in the menu bar above the book. This feature was removed after April 1, but on June 29, 2010, Google announced its restoration.[130][131] Google also released the latest form of 3D glasses, similar to the pairs one would use today when seeing a film.

Store anything on Google Docs[edit]

Google announced[132] that Google Docs will have the capacity to upload anything, including physical objects like keys, remote controls, etc. The site[133] declared that one could use this to find items like keys using CTRL-F and send objects around the globe by "uploading" and "downloading" them, at the low price of $0.10 per kg.

Search results generated in different units[edit]

Google's search results page displayed the time taken to load the results in different units from seconds. Several of these are pop culture references, as with 1.21 gigawatts, while others refer to slang:

YouTube ASCII video filter[edit]

The logo of YouTube was overlaid with ASCII text repeating the character "1".[134] The YouTube logo was a reference to some videos having a new quality setting, namely "TEXTp". According to a notice underneath the videos, viewing the video with this quality setting enabled allowed YouTube to save one US dollar ($1) per second on bandwidth costs. The notice also remarked on the source of this new "feature," wishing the reader a happy April Fool's Day.

However in accordance with the announcement, the video quality on many videos was indeed able to be set to 'TEXTp' and video output was rendered through an ASCII filter. This feature was removed on April 2, 2010.

Animal Translator BETA[edit]

Google placed a link on the main page, advertising a new Google Animal Translator service to add to their Language Translator service. Clicking the link would take the user to a page advertising an app for Android phones for the translator, with the tagline being "Bridging the gap between animals and humans".

Once the app is installed on an Android phone, it provides some amusing translations depending on the animal selected.

Standard Voicemail Mode for Google voice[edit]

Google placed a New! Standard Voicemail Mode[136] link in the Google Voice main page.

Evil Bit[edit]

Google added an "evil bit" to their AJAX APIs, to aid in generating an appropriate response to nefarious deeds. If an evildoer is "detected", the code returns with, among other things, "For Great Justice", a quotation from the video game Zero Wing.[137] Conversely, setting the evil bit to 'false' will return the Google Search results for 'April Fools' encoded in JSON.[138]

Wave Wave Notifications[edit]

Google Wave can be set to have a human being wave at by the user[139] to notify the user of a change to a Google Wave. The user can also select the volume of the human notifier from a list of silent, medium, loud and vibrate. They can also select which human notifier they want, including Ashton Kutcher, Dr. Wave, Grandma, Werner Heisenberg, and Puppy. Clicking on any of the links on the new notifications page redirected the user to a Google help page, alerting them that it was an April Fools' joke, but also that email notifications are possible.

Google Annotations Gallery[edit]

The Google Annotations Gallery ("GAG") is an exciting new Java open source library that provides a rich set of annotations for developers to express themselves.[140]

Japanese Input System[edit]

Google's proposed keyboard includes a single key for each Japanese character.[141]

Disemvoweling on Google Mail[edit]

The English-language home page of Google Mail, including its logo, was disemvowelled. A post on the GMail blog was created to address the issue, claiming that they had encountered a server error which firstly made the data centers fail to render the vowel 'a' before failing to render the vowels, and were working on the problem. They also claimed to be investigating whether the letter 'y' was impacted.[142]

Chrome Sounds (Google Chrome Extension)[edit]

Google created a new extension, Chrome Sounds,[143] after "months deep in psychoacoustic models, the Whittaker-Nyquist-Kotelnikov-Shannon sampling theorem, Franssen effects, Shepard-Risset Tones, and 11.1 surround sound research".[144] The extension provides audio for actions performed within the Google Chrome web browser. For a few interesting sounds, try going to different countries' localized Google pages. The full list of sounds that this extension makes can be found by going to the Chrome Tools menu, choosing Extensions, turning on developer mode, and viewing the source of the extension.

Google Analytics Goes Back to Hits[edit]

Google decided that hits really is the only metric for tracking web site usage.[145]

Life size Picasa[edit]

Google offered an option which allows the user to print life-size cardboard cutouts of all of their photos.[146]

ReaderAdvantage Program[edit]

Google announced[147] a reward program for Google Reader, known as ReaderAdvantage™, in which they would assign points to users depending on the number of items read on Google Reader. The rewards were different badges, which, on visiting the ReaderAdvantage™ page[148] and clicking on the enroll button, shows this page.

Wingdings in AdSense[edit]

Wingdings was announced as a new font option for AdSense users.[149]

2011[edit]

YouTube[edit]

A button was added to the video player which, when clicked, would apply a video filter to the video and replace the audio with a recording of Rhapsody Rag, a piece typically played as background music to silent movies in 1911. If subtitles are enabled when watching the video, intertitles will be displayed containing the dialogue. The upload page also featured an option to "send a horse-drawn carriage to me to pick [the video] up".[150] In addition, a few videos were made parodying several viral videos, such as the "Flugelhorn Feline".

Gmail Motion[edit]

A body gesture oriented way to send and view mail through Gmail. In the "How it Works" Section it reads "Gmail Motion uses your computer's built-in webcam and Google's patented spatial tracking technology to detect your movements and translate them into meaningful characters and commands. Movements are designed to be simple and intuitive for people of all skill levels." An overview video presented by Gmail product manager Paul McDonald explains Gmail Motion's "language of movements that replaces type entirely" while a mime artist performs the full-body Gmail actions.[151]

Upon clicking the "Try Gmail Motion" button, it explains to the user about the prank, and says "Gmail Motion doesn't actually exist. At least not yet..." The page also offers a preview of the features of Google Docs Motion.

Google Docs Motion[edit]

Using Gmail Motion's technology, Google has promoted the BETA version of Google Docs Motion which "will introduce a new way to collaborate – using your body" in their Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings, and Document List tools.[154]

Autocompleter Job[edit]

A YouTube video[155] was posted by Google showing a "Google Autocompleter" employee explaining the job. Also, a job opening was featured for an "Autocompleter."[156] Clicking on the "Add to job cart" or "View cart" links to a Google search for "google april fools day pranks".[157]

Chromercise[edit]

Google Chrome launched a new website called "Chromercise", which aims to increase people's hands' strength and dexterity while browsing the web faster, and also allowing their hands to fit "into sleeker, sexier gloves". On the website, they also gave away free Google Chrome finger sweatbands for a limited time.[159]

Japan[edit]

Due to the large-scale devastation from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, in lieu of a traditional April Fools hoax, Google Japan featured many never-before featured drawings from its 2009 Google Doodle competition, themed "What I Love About Japan" drawn by Japanese schoolchildren, saying "We promised that only the top prize winners would be featured on Google, but as this is the only day where lies are forgiven, we have obtained the other children's understanding." As a small concession to the usual festivities, the Google Blog mentioned, "This year's April Fools joke has been postponed until next year. Next year's April Fool's joke has been postponed until the year following that."[160]

Google 穿越搜索[edit]

Google teleport 穿越搜索[161] is a service that allows user to time travel. The site is written in Simplified Chinese. It claims that it can take the user on a journey through time and space in first-person.[162]

Search[edit]

Searching for "helvetica",[163] "comic sans",[164] or "comic sans ms"[165] temporarily changed the entire webpage's font to Comic Sans.[166]

Comic Sans for Everyone[edit]

Announcement that Comic Sans will become the default font for all Google products. Google also created a Google Chrome extension which changes the font to Comic Sans on all webpages.[167]

Google Cow[edit]

The Google Body homepage appeared as Google Cow,[168] where a cow's body can be examined in 3D. There was a toggle button that switched to human models.

Google Maps[edit]

Google Maps used to display a dragon in Germany's biggest forest, the 'Pfälzer Wald'.[169][170] Also a shark in the Netherlands' lake called IJmeer, East of Amsterdam[171] was featured. When viewed in Earth Mode or Google Earth. These can be rendered in 3D. There is also a narwhal[172] in the Thames in London, outside Millbank Tower. The Loch Ness monster also makes an appearance in 'Loch Ness'.[173] A giant red lobster sits atop the Zakim Bridge[174] in Boston. Also a pink elephant at "Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA".

Google Translate for Animals[edit]

Google UK purportedly offered a version of Google Translate which could be used to talk with animals.[175]

Google Voice[edit]

Google Voice has a new function that makes users spell out common words like "embarrassed", "dizzy" or "Czechoslovakia", before they connect the user's call in order to prevent embarrassing messages.

Adwords[edit]

AdWords announced a new format, Google Blimp Ads, that would be flying over major cities starting in May.[176]

Google I/O[edit]

The announced sessions for the Google I/O conference for software developers were changed to include talks featuring technologies from the late 1990s.[177]

Contoso has gone Google[edit]

On the Google Enterprise Blog, Google announced that Contoso (a fictional company used by Microsoft in Microsoft's product documentation materials) has switched from Microsoft Office and Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps. The post included references to 2007's TiSP and 2011's Gmail Motion jokes.[178]

Meow Me Now Mobile[edit]

On the Google Mobile Blog, Google announced a new mobile-based search option for Android and iOS devices which locates kittens near the user's current location.[179]

Blogger[edit]

The blogging service Blogger announced that it was being acquired by Google, even though it has been part of Google since 2003.[180]

2012[edit]

Google Maps 8-bit for NES[edit]

Google partnered with Square Enix and announced a "NES version" of their Google Maps service, to be released "as soon as possible". The version would be released in NES and Famicom versions (the Famicom version would feature voice input by using the second controller's microphone). In the meantime, Google added a "Quest"[181] layer to the Maps website, which features 8-bit tile-based graphics and sprites on landmarks, both made by Google and by Square Enix (using the Dragon Quest game series' graphics).[182]

Improved Japanese Input System[edit]

Google's proposed improved keyboard based on the experience with Japanese input system from 2010.[183]

The YouTube Collection[edit]

YouTube added a small disc on the right side of the YouTube logo, which when clicked leads to a page about a service called "The YouTube Collection". It claimed to be an at-home experience of YouTube and made everything from videos to comments physical, including a postal mail commenting service. At the bottom of the website, it had a fake shipping form which after filled said "Your order has been placed. Due to heavy demand, your anticipated delivery date is: JUNE 16, 2045" and in small grey text at the bottom said "Also, April Fools."

Google Street Roo[edit]

Google announced they will deploy a 'roo force' of more than 1,000 big red kangaroos who will capture up to 98% of the Australian bush within the next three years.[184]

Underwater Image Search[edit]

An underwater image search experience developed by Google China.[185]

Google Weather Control[edit]

Google added weather control to its weather search.[186]

Chrome Multitask Mode[edit]

Chrome Multitask Mode makes it possible to browse the web with two or more mice at the same time. Clicking the "Try Multitask Mode" button initially creates one fake mouse that moves around the screen, and over time adds several more and at one point a giant cursor even appears. Clicking the "Exit Multitask Mode" button shows an April Fools message.[187]

Elegantizr[edit]

Google introduced the Elegantizr[188] framework. To use it, one just needs to insert the following line of HTML:

 <link rel="stylesheet" href="http://www.google.com/landing/elegantizr/elegantizr.css" /> 

Upon insertion, every text begins with APRIL FOOL and an emoticon, before moving on to the regular text.

Piano & Guitar Analytics Playback[edit]

Google Analytics allows the user to playback their website statistics on piano and guitar.

Google Racing[edit]

Google announced a partnership with NASCAR to help create self-driving vehicles to compete in stock car racing.[189] The "I'm Feeling Lucky" button on Google's site was also changed to "I'm Steering Lucky."[190] Google racing is available at http://www.google.com/racing/

Gmail Tap[edit]

Gmail Tap for Android and iOS doubles typing speed with a revolutionary new keyboard.[191] The system involves a keyboard with three keys: Morse code "dash" and "dot", and a spacebar (along with backspace). Shortly before midnight, on March 31, 2012 added Gmail Tap[192] – Android and iOS Application utilizing Morse Code instead of onscreen keyboard. Selecting Download App for Your Phone[193] produces the message: "Oops! Gmail Tap is a bit too popular right now. We suggest you try downloading it again on April 2nd." Clicking the Retry[194] button will produce "It's still April 1st, 2012. You'll have to wait till April 2nd to download Gmail Tap." After clicking the retry button the page will say "Still trying to download Gmail Tap? Check back next April 1st to see if it is available...you never know.".[citation needed] On Gmail's Facebook page,[195] they also posted about a Morse keyboard.[196]

Really Advanced Search[edit]

A link on the bottom of search results pages titled Really Advanced Search[197] takes users to a search page where they can filter their search results by, among other things, subtext or innuendo, page font (Comic Sans or Wingdings), loanword origin, or future modification date. Clicking on the "Advanced Search" button to actually run the search query redirects users to search results for "April Fools".[198]

Click-to-Teleport Extensions[edit]

Click-to-Teleport extensions[199] allow potential customers to instantly teleport to the business location directly from a search ad in a matter of seconds. This teleportation technology shortens the "online-to-store" conversion funnel by providing searchers with an easy way to visit any business and convert. On average, advertisers using Click-to-Teleport extensions have seen their offline sales increase by 3600%.[200]

Go Ro[edit]

Solving the increasingly frustrating problem of accessing mobile internet on rotary phones across the US, Google is announcing GoRo.[201] GoRo aims to fix the problem that 100% of people using rotary phones have trouble accessing a website

Jargon-Bot for Google Apps[edit]

Jargon-Bot[202] instantly recognizes business terms and provides real-time, in-product jargon translation into plain English.[203]

Google TV Click[edit]

Innovative remote control application for phone and tablet lets users interact with shows and movies as they are playing.[204]

Google Voice for Pets[edit]

Google introduced special Voice Communication Collars that fit around animal necks and use a series of sensors to record audio directly from animal vocal cords. Using a WiFi network, audio messages are uploaded to Google Voice within seconds. Alternately, a tiny micro-LED emitter built into the collar can project a keyboard onto the floor, so the animal pet can tap its front paws to send text messages. To understand animal language, Google took their voicemail transcription engine and combined it with millions of adorable pet videos from the Internet, training it to translate cat meows or dog growls into English.[205]

$1 Google Offer for Parking Karma[edit]

Google Offer for unlimited good parking karma[206] $1 takes the stress and guesswork out of finding a good spot by providing the following service:

  1. prime spots when you need them,
  2. repels parking tickets,
  3. includes 1 space buffer on each side,
  4. shopping cart protection plan,
  5. no parallel parking for first 6 months.

Canine Staffing Team[edit]

Google revealed that dogs at Google offices go through the same detailed recruitment and hiring process by Canine Staffing Team as human Googlers do before being welcomed to the Googleplex.[207]

Analytics Interplanetary Reports[edit]

While currently users can only get a partial picture of website visitor location, Google Analytics is expanding beyond Earth by announcing new Analytis Interplanetary Reports to help users understand visitor activities from neighboring stars and planets. Users will also be able to drill down on each planet to see greater detail, e.g. which colony or outpost visitors came from, similar to the city drill down available for Earth today.[208]

"Did you mean: Beyonce" and Kanye West in the Play Music Store[edit]

Kanye West bugdroid appeared in the Play Music Store. While searching anything, "Did you mean: Beyonce" came up every time.

Google Edible fiber[edit]

Google released a video[209] on YouTube claiming it invented an edible fiber which could "take feedback from the body, determine which nutrients are needed and target delivery to the specific organs that need those nutrients. The video actually links to Google Fiber, a broadband internet service by Google.

2013[edit]

YouTube contest for the best video[edit]

In YouTube's sixth April Fools' prank, YouTube joined forces with The Onion, a newspaper satire company, by claiming that it will "no longer accept new entries". YouTube began the process of selecting a winner on April 1, 2013 and would delete everything else. YouTube would go back online in 2023 to post the winning video and nothing else.[210] After that, on April 1, 2013, YouTube briefly repeated the "YouTube Collection" joke from April 1, 2012. They also broadcast a live ceremony in which two "submission coordinators" continuously read off the titles and descriptions of random videos (the "nominees") for twelve straight hours, claiming they would do hold the same ceremony every day for the next two years.[211]

Treasure Hunt on Google Maps[edit]

Google Maps allows the user to start a treasure hunt by selecting the "Treasure" view from the top right. Google Maps notes that the "system may not be able to display at higher resolutions than paper print" and that the user should "take care when unfolding the map to avoid ripping it." Also, the user is warned to 'beaware [sic] of pirates'. In reference to the TV show Portlandia, an image of a bird was placed on Portland, Oregon. While in this mode, Pegman is replaced with a telescope, thus giving the effect of looking through an old telescope when using Street View.

Google Nose[edit]

On April 1, 2013, Google launched its fake product – Google Nose BETA. This product claimed to "search for smells". Google staffers even went far enough with their creativity to cover mobile devices in this April Fools' prank with the "Android Ambient Odor Detection" which was said to collect smells from phones. "The product intersects photons with infrasound waves and temporarily aligns molecules to emulate a particular scent," said the Google Nose BETA YouTube video.[213] Huffington Post said, "It all sounds so great."[214][215] They made an introductory video explaining the purported intention behind the new feature.[214] According to the clip, their mobile aroma indexing program created a 15 million scentibyte database of smells from all over the world.[216]

Improved Google Play Developer Console[edit]

The addition of an "Add new awesome application" button.[217]

Google Japanese Input Patapata Version[edit]

Google introduces a new Japanese input system.[218] Users repeatedly tap a single button to cycle through different letters. A brief pause confirms the current letter and advances the cursor to begin entering the next one.

The name "Patapata" likely references a Japanese word for Split-flap display, onomatopoeically dubbed "Patapata-shiki" for its distinctive fluttering sound when updating. There also exists Patapon, where "Pata" is one of the sounds made with a drum; "pata-pata-pata-pon" happens to be one of the first rhythms the game teaches the user.

International Space Station on Google Analytics[edit]

Google Analytics fooled users by showing that their website was being viewed from the International Space Station control room on the real-time page, this caused the website owners to swear at them .[217]

Gmail Blue[edit]

Gmail is now the color blue.[219]

Google SCHMICK (Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit)[edit]

Google SCHMICK allows the user to redesign his or her street viewed house so that the user can "fly the Australian flag" outside the user's house [220]

Google Fiber Poles[edit]

Google Fiber to the Pole provides ubiquitous gigabit connectivity to fiberhoods across Kansas City. This latest innovation in Google Fiber technology enables users to access Google Fiber's ultra fast gigabit speeds even when they are out and about.[221]

Google Wallet Mobile ATM[edit]

Google announced the release of the Google Wallet Mobile ATM. The mobile ATM device easily attaches to most smartphones and dispenses money instantly and effortlessly – forever ending the user's search for the nearest bank or ATM. The Google Wallet Mobile ATM technology allows the user to enter the amount of money he or she want to withdraw directly to a phone or use voice-activated dispenser. Unlike traditional ATM's, the Google Wallet Mobile ATM even dispenses rare two and fifty dollar bills, as well as more practical one dollar bills.[222]

Levity Algorithm in Google Apps[edit]

Google introduces the Levity Algorithm in Google Apps to help users spice up even the most boring of work days.[223]

Updated Export and Send-To features on Google Analytics[edit]

Google updated the Export and Send-To features for Google Analytics to give users even more options and support some of our favorite legacy technology: 3.5" floppy, CD-ROM, papyrus, sticky note, carrier pigeon, fax, telegram, telegraph.[224]

Self-Writing Code Program[edit]

Google developed self-writing code program. Now that Google engineers are not spending their time at the desk programming, they have plenty of time to collaborate with teammates, attend talks and events on campus, go for a workout at the gym or try out a new cafe. Google always encourages employees to have a full life outside of the office and now Google employees have tremendous work-life balance.[225]

Google Search Cold Trends[edit]

The least searched topics on Google, "Cold searches" is the way to discover new unique things that nobody else is into.[226]

2014[edit]

Software Dogengineer[edit]

Google created an entry in their careers page looking for a dogengineer.

The Google Maps Pokémon Challenge[edit]

Google joined forces with The Pokémon Company, Game Freak, and Nintendo to develop a new Google Maps app for the iPhone and Android, which helps users capture all kinds of Pokémon while exploring the real world using Google Maps.[227]

Gmail Selfie[edit]

Based on the popularity of adding pictures of oneself as a Gmail custom theme, Google launches a feature to share that custom theme (of one's self) with their friends.[228]

Nest + Virgin[edit]

After acquiring Nest Labs in early 2014, Google teamed up with Virgin Airlines about the latest in-flight feature. Passengers on the Virgin Airlines aircraft have the ability to change their personal temperature on the plane using their latest Total Temperature Control.[229]

Google Japanese Input: Magic Hand Version[edit]

There are many problems with inputting Japanese on a mobile device using one's finger – so Google has introduced the *Magic Hand* to solve them.[230]

Emojify the Web[edit]

Google Translate support for Emoji is now built directly into Chrome for Android and iOS. One can now read all their favorite Web content “using efficient and emotive illustrations, instead of cumbersome text.” Google’s translation algorithm interprets not just the definition of the words on a webpage, but also their context, tone, and sometimes even facial expression in order to convert them into symbols. "Not only does this pictorial and theatrical language allow us to communicate complex emotions, it’s also far more compact. One Emoji symbol can easily replace dozens of characters, improving efficiency and comprehension on the go. It turns out the best way to communicate in the future is to look to the past: the ancient Egyptians were really onto something with their hieroglyphs."[231]

Auto-Awesome Photobombs with David Hasselhoff[edit]

Google announced on the Official Google Blog that they would randomly insert David Hasselhoff into Google+ photos via the Auto-Awesome feature.[232]

WazeDates[edit]

'WazeDates' uses the same crowdsourcing technology designed to help drivers around the world outsmart traffic, while creating a new space for people to meet and fall in love.[233]

Upcoming Viral Video Trends[edit]

YouTube announced that they write, shoot, and upload all of the world's most popular viral videos, and that this year they're accepting viral video ideas from YouTube users.[234]

AutoAwesome for Resumes[edit]

Google announced that it's rolling out special effects for Resumes on Google Drive.[235]

Qwerty Cats Chrome Extension[edit]

The Chromium team releases a QWERTY virtual keyboard for cats on the Chrome Web Store.[236]

Coffee to the Home[edit]

Google Fiber launches Coffee to the Home (CTTH) program for Kansas City residents; delivering made-to-order coffee drinks straight to users at fiber speeds—through the same fiber jack that delivers 100 times faster Internet.[237]

AdBirds[edit]

Google AdWords team now released AdBirds, a new way to show ads. The user has six birds (Sparrow, Duck, Owl, Pigeon, Eagle and Penguin) to choose from, and he/she adds in a little bit of text before setting the bird free into the world, for everyone to see their ad.[238]

Google Apps for Business Dogs[edit]

Google announced that they're launching a suite of features to make Google Apps more useful for Dogs in the workplace. Features include Dmail with translation, Hangouts with Bark Enhancement, and paw recognition technology.[239]

Google Analytics Academy: Data-less Decision Making[edit]

Google announced a web course on how to "make uninformed business decisions on a whim by following your gut instincts and applying simple guesswork techniques." [240]

Helpouts by Google: Helpouts from a Pirate[edit]

Scowlin' Guideon Scabb the Beardless helps one hone their pirate vocabulary 1 on 1 over live video.[241]

Adsenses on planets and moon[edit]

Now interplanetary IP addresses are interpreted. “With our recent discovery of the interplanetary IP address repository, you’ll have access to even more reports that can help you improve user engagement on your site. For example, if you notice a lot of traffic coming from Mars, try adding more pages in Martian to engage with those audiences.”[242][243]

Google Play Signature Edition[edit]

Signature Apps lets developers ship their work directly to customers on a thumbdrive inside a special package ready for unboxing, preferably "using natural sources of locomotion such as biking and walking" to reduce the environmental impact.. The dev console includes settings for shipping apps, an explanation of the value add, and a reminder to sign apps on a piece of paper or electronically to give them more authenticity. Unfortunately, hitting the Save button doesn’t work.[244] Google Play Signature Edition FAQs

Chromecast for squirrels[edit]

Google says it is working with “developers of ‘paw-friendly’ apps to build Chromecast support into more of the apps and websites both humans and squirrels love.”[245][246]

Spreadsheets Pride[edit]

Typing in p-r-i-d-e (one letter per cell) in the first row of a Google Spreadsheet turns the entire table rainbow.[247]

Real April Fools' Day product launches[edit]

Google has chosen April Fools' Day and the day before it to announce some of their actual products, as a form of viral marketing.

See also[edit]

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