The Best April Fools' Jokes in Tech for 2013
Did you prank anyone on April Fools’ Day? Well you probably didn’t have to anyway because some of the biggest names in tech had more than their fair share of April Fools’ jokes.
Most of the shenanigans were pretty obvious, but there was one in particular that seemed to have really fooled a few oblivious people (more on that below).
A quick note though: Whether you were the prankster or the prankstee this past April Fools’, don’t forget that all the jokes on the 1st of April should just be made in the name of good clean fun. (And if you ended up on the wrong side of a prank, don’t worry… you can always get your revenge next year!)
Anyway, in case you missed them, below is a summary of some of tech’s best April Fools’ jokes of 2013.
Google Nose - “In the fast-paced world that we live in, we don’t always have time to stop and smell the roses. With Google Nose BETA, the roses are just a click away.”
That’s the promise of Google’s April Fools’ product, Nose. The new technology is the search giant’s foray into our sense of smell.
Labeled as “the new scentsation in search”, Google Nose Beta has over 15M scentibites in its Aromabase. It’s extremely functional and is also available on mobile devices! All you have to do is type in your scent query, and Google Nose will serve up the results instantly.
See it in action here.
TechCrunch: Facebook In Talks To Buy Bang With Friends - On April 1st, TechCrunch editor Alexia Tsotsis broke the news about Facebook acquiring the popular app Bang With Friends for about $30 million in cash and stocks.
For the uninitiated, Bang With Friends is a Facebook app that paves the way for hookups between friends… if the feelings are mutual, of course. Think of it this way: Like what Kashmir Hill of Forbes put it, Bang With Friends is “like Words With Friends, without the letter tiles and clothes.”
When you sign up for the app, Bang With Friends lets you anonymously select the people in your friends list that you’d to sleep with. If any of those friends have the app as well and added to you to their bang list, the app will drop the anonymity and notify both of you that your racy feelings are mutual so you can arrange your rendezvous.
Bang With Friends gained a ton of popularity and even garnered around 600,000 registered users after just two and a half weeks of being launched.
Back to the TC post: The article was clearly a joke. And if the date didn’t give it away, statements like “Facebook considers the dating market to be ‘bigger than e-commerce,’ and it hopes to evolve beyond being a platform for stalking people you are silently crushing on into a platform for actually banging those people” should’ve made it even more obvious.
But it looks like some people actually fell for it. Because on April 2nd, word about the so-called acquisition ended up on Yahoo News.
Sprint Specs: Give Unlimited Eye Contact - Have you ever been on a date where the person sitting in front of you just wouldn’t look up from their cell phone? Or worse, have you ever been THAT person? Well now Sprint promises to put an end to rude smartphone usage once and for all.
On April 1st, Sprint unveiled its most ground-breaking product yet. The company announced the launch Sprint Specs -- glasses that would revolutionize how people interact with their smartphone and with other people. Move over, Google Glass.
Sprint Specs is a pair of glasses that will allow you to have permanent eye contact with the person in front of you, regardless of whether or not you’re really looking at them. As Sprint proudly announced, “Finally, checking your phone in front of other people isn't impolite.”
Sprint Specs can be used for pretending to listen to your parents, having weird small talk, even checking the game while you’re on a date! Talk about amazing.
Gmail Blue – After 6 long years of intense development, Gmail Blue has finally arrived. Apparently, it was “part of the initial conception for Gmail. [But] at that time the technology was simply not there.”
Well thank goodness we live in the 21st century because lo and behold, Google finally managed to accomplish its greatest Gmail achievement yet: They turned it blue.
That’s right, the compose button is now blue, the words are blue, even boldface, underline and *gasp* italics are blue!
You need to watch the hilarious video here to get the full effect, but suffice to say this Google prank – like most of its jokes—caught a lot of attention (over 3 million views!). So much that the very next day, a Gmail Blue extension was released. So if you ever wished that this particular prank were real, you’re in luck. You can check out the plugin here.
Twitter Drops the Vowels – If you have mad Wheel of Fortune skills then you’re going to love this one. In light of April Fools’ Day, Twitter announced that they would be “shifting to a two-tiered service” wherein there would still be a free version of Twitter, but users would only get consonants. If they wanted to tweet with vowels they would have to pay $5 a month.
What’s the reason behind the change? According to Twitter, “We’re doing this because we believe that by eliminating vowels, we’ll encourage a more efficient and ‘dense’ form of communication. We also see an opportunity to diversify our revenue stream.”
Hey, they gotta make money somehow, right?
But wait, there’s more. According to the microblogging platform, they would now allow advertisers to expand their tweets to a whopping 141 characters! They would have to pay for that extra character, of course and the fee would depend on a bidding system based on the demand for the character they wish to add.
Goodbye YouTube – Think Google has had it with April Fools’? Not even close. For its April Fools’ prank, YouTube jokingly announced that it would be shutting down the site. Apparently, this whole YouTube thing was just an 8-year long contest that aims to discover the best video ever.
According to YouTube, the site would be back on 2023 to feature the winning video and nothing else.
What were your favorite April Fools’ pranks of 2013? Share them in the comments below!
Image credit: pasukaru76 on Flickr