April Fools’ Day 2013: Google Leads Brand Pranks Sweeping the Web

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Every April 1st, Google tries to outdo itself with a new array of April Fools’ Day pranks, and this year was no different.

Users of Google quickly spotted a “Google Nose” link that appeared on April 1st that invited consumers to smell what they are seeing on the site, whether it is a campfire or a flower. Or, at least, it would let them “leverage new and existing technologies to offer the sharpest olfactory experience available.”[more]

Google’s YouTube announced it was shutting down after eight years so judges can spend the next 10 years sifting through all of the video content and determine one winner, which will be the site’s lone video come 2023 when it’s relaunched. Who else is betting on “Charlie Bit My Finger”? Enjoy the wait, world.

Google Maps could not allow themselves to be outdone, so it created a Treasure Maps function that supposedly is based on information it came across when its Street View’s “underwater team” discovered a bunch of Captain Kidd’s lost maps in the Indian Ocean. Good luck with that, treasure seekers.

Google+ decided that “when it comes to expressing yourself, nothing beats the richness and elegance of a few properly placed colons, parentheses, letters and hyphens.” So it says that it has added an “Add emotion” button for each photo that allows the site to “plumb the emotional depths of everyone in the photo, then summarize their feelings with a beautifully crafted, emotion icon.” Nothing could be more personal, right? 🙂

Google’s new Gmail Blue service is billed as fast, beautiful, powerful:

Google Analytics also snuck in a video explaining Levity, its new algorithm:

Google may have its new Web-enabled specs but Britain’s The Guardian newspaper says it has just released a pair that allow consumers to look at restaurants and see all relevant reviews as well as use “optional built-in anti-bigotry technology, which prevents exposure to non-Guardian opinions” and will soon be able to just scream out their thoughts and have them automatically posted to the comments section of relevant Guardian stories.

April Fools’ Day wouldn’t be complete without an Apple dig. Google Play is answering the dreams of every Star Trek fan by now providing the ability to teleport in certain cities but only from Android devices—“due to Apple limitations on iOS 6,” the site claims. It goes on to note that the new technology has been written about in “Tach Chrunch, WallStreet Jernal, Ney York Times, Discovery Chanel and many more…”

Even Google Japan is getting into the April Fools’ act. It has announced a machine with a single button so that consumers can tap in codes for each Japanese character rather than be surrounded by massive numbers of Japanese-character keyboards. Life doesn’t get simpler (or more ludicrous).

American Eagle Outfitters confused some of its young consumers (and quite a few parents) last month when it announced the nonexistent Skinny Skinny Jeans that are so tight they look pretty much painted on. For being good sports, the brand is offering $10 off on real AE jeans April 3 through April 8.

Contactless payments are one of the hot things in financial services, so Barclays UK released a Barclaycard canine system called PayWag. The technology does not get a full description but one imagines you don’t want your dog to be too happy anytime he or she is near a cash register.

BMW UK got into the tomfoolery with the introduction of its new P.R.A.M. (Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile) in honor of the royal baby due this summer. “Available in Princess Pink or Royal Blue, this soft-top convertible has been designed using our EfficientDynamics technology,” the website claims. “With two or four-wheel-drive, it rides as smoothly on a polo field as it does down The Mall and comes with air conditioning and built-in extendable flagpoles as standard.” It’s even got N.A.P.P.I.E. (Nanny-Assisting Petrol-Powered Injection Engine).

BMW‘s MINI brand also announced the Connect Us dating app:

HootSuite announced HootFoil:

Ikea UK announced a flat-pack lawnmower:

JetBlue revealed a better way of choosing new destinations:

If you’re looking for images for “lockets, doll house posters, (or) even photo realistic nail art,” Kodak has introduced “the world’s first .. Wrist Kiosk” that allows consumers to “make real Kodak quality digital prints and reductions –right at the end of your arm.” Who could ask for anything more?

Kraft rebrands Vegemite to Yankymite in Australia:

Nissan‘s Facebook page highlights its latest high-tech innovation: “Meet the Nissan Sandwich Toast-R. It blasts sandwiches from 0-to-grilled in 2.9 seconds, making it the world’s highest-performance toastie maker. Lunchtime just got a whole lot faster.”

Nokia revealed its first brand microwave:

Black Friday 2013 may be about eight months away but coupon site Savings.com has it that a Los Angeles couple is already camped out in front of a Best Buy in the hopes of being the first to the day’s best deals. You apparently can never start thinking about holiday shopping too early.

Skype pulled a fast one with Skype Into Space, detailed in a blog post.

Sony would like your pets to benefit from technology so it has created its Animalia line of products with everything from headphones for cats to dog TVs and in-cage speakers for hamsters.

Toshiba announced its first-ever gaming console, the Shibasphere, which of course has such accessories as Shibadome, Shibasuit and Shibatote and such exciting launch titles as Pet the Dog (“a thrilling pet simulation that will have you begging for a sequel”), Contract Negotiations, (“throws players into a simulated workplace environment”) and Let’s Travel (“wait in the most realistic line ever developed, while you fight to get a full sized bottle of shampoo through security”).

Vimeo gave up and gave its site over to cat videos, changing its name to Vimeow.

Virgin CEO Richard Branson is always up for a good prank, so it’s no shocker that he announced a glass-bottomed plane that allows passengers to watch the clouds zip by underneath their feet, though the airline may need some extra airsickness bags on stormy days.

Not to be outdone, Canada’s WestJet Airlines tried to top last year’s “child-free cabins” prank with this furry flier program:

Whole Foods Market introduced a Cattle Cam (watch the video):

Click here for a few other brand pranks making hay on social media today. Drop us a comment if you spot any we missed!

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