For April Fools’: Best of the Web
Last year, I completely forgot about April Fool’s Day until I was listening to a news story on the radio and thought, “That’s odd. Is that really true?” Two seconds later, I remembered “Oh, that’s right, it’s April Fools!”
The big day is right around the corner. Love it or hate it, the tricks will be out there. If, like us, you’re looking forward to some of the best spoofs the Internet has to offer, here are some of our favorites from last year. These sites are sure to offer some gems you won’t want to miss this April Fools.
Google went to quite a lot of trouble with their major prank. They introduced an 8-bit version of Google Maps, called “Quest” (www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rznYifPHxDg#!), referring to it as “our first product for Nintendo Entertainment System.” Quest was designed to generate all maps in 8-bit format (think early 1980s Donkey Kong or Frogger). The gag provided instructions for inserting the cartridge into your old NES game system, hooking it up to the Internet (complete with the old dial-up phone connection sound), then searching for your hometown. You could even find a route to your destination and watch the tiny character follow the blue line, Legend of Zelda style, anywhere in the world. “Blow on the cartridge to fix bugs!”
All in all, Google kept people guessing with at least sixteen pranks last year. They introduced the Google Really Advanced Search which let you filter your Internet searches by everything from “rhyming slang” to font size. Chrome Multitask Mode allowed you to browse the web using two mice at the same time. Gmail Tap turned your overly-cumbersome keyboard into just two keys and a spacebar, bringing Morse code back into the mainstream. Google Voice for Pets revolutionized pet communications, complete with a collar designed to record audio from your dog or cat and translate it into human speech. Brilliant!
Pet spoofs were all the rave. Kodak LivePrint technology claimed to have created the first kitten printer, promised to be “Fast, fun and easy!” Select your favorite breed, wait 90 seconds and voila, your own live kitten. Ads went on to state that select locations would be offering a limited Easter promotion: “Buy 2 bunnies and get 10 free!” Nationwide “Bring a Puppy Home for the Holidays” was slated for Christmas.
Adblock, the software that allows you to surf the Internet without all those ads blocking your viewing space introduced CatBlock (http://adblockforchrome.blogspot.com/2012/03/inturdusing-catblock.html). Supposedly designed by Adblock’s developer’s cat, the offending ads were replaced with pictures of adorable cats instead. It actually proved to be so popular (really!) that people were begging for it to be real. This led to the designer creating a standalone version he would send to users that supported Adblock with a monthly payment.
Lynx introduced the “Lynx Spray App” (www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PM5bCgP479c) which promised that guys on the prowl could select the body spray scent of their choice on the go via the app and then spray themselves down using their Smartphone. If only phones and liquids were more compatible.
New electronics were introduced, too. Toshiba announced a new line of tablets called Oblong, Amoré and Rhombus offered in, you guessed it, oval, heart and rhombus shapes: “more than a convex quadrilateral.” Sony unveiled their Vaio Q, the world’s most portable Ultrabook. Available in full HD with “exceptional picture quality and 2D and 3D graphics support”, all on the super tiny 0.75 x 1.25 inches screen.
Skype promised to simplify itself for users who don’t like to use a computer, mobile device or Internet connection with Skype for String. Simply give friends and family members a cup that’s connected to yours for unlimited calling. To make a video call, you must be within eyesight of your friend. It was promised to work with any cup and string, but Skype recommended their certified set for best results.
Every year one of our favorite sites for tech toys and fan gear, Think Geek (www.thinkgeek.com), brings out their best for April Fools. My favorite from last year was Electronic Hungry Hungry Hippos iPad Game. Simply attach the four plastic hippos to your iPad and use it as the game board. Multiple electronic game boards are offered with several marble styles. Scoring modes come in standard, Vegas and Regulation Tournament. Coming soon, Hungry Hungry Hippos: Space!