Google's Fool's Day 2013 Prank Roundup

"Introduces" services such as Google Nose and Gmail Blue, and suggests pulling the plug on YouTube.

Google's Fool's Day 2013 Prank Roundup

It's that time of the year again when Google lives up to its tradition of pulling a fast one on its users. Whether it manages to fool a lot of people, or not is another thing, but all of it does show the amount of effort the search giant makes to make all of it sound believable is quite interesting in itself. If you thought our prank wasn't up to the mark, see what Google has in store for you.

Bye Bye, YouTube!
Since most people anticipate a prank well in advance, the search giant decided to make its move seem credible by planning to pull it off a day in advance. In a 3-minute spoof video, Google announced that it will be pulling the plug on its video sharing service, and a special "Best Video" award will be declared on 1st April.

In an official blog post, YouTube says, "Nearly eight years later, with 72 hours of video being uploaded every minute, we finally have enough content to close the competition. We've started the process to select a winner and as of tomorrow at midnight, we will be closing the site to submissions. Watch the video below to hear from our leadership, the minds behind some of our most famous entries, and the panel of judges who will select our nominees, and ultimately, the winner for "Best Video". To make it seem more credible, there is also a live-streaming nomination video! Interestingly, many people did fall for the gag. Check out the interesting video below.

Street View Disaster
But that isn't where all the spoofing for the day started. It obviously had to begin in Australia, which rings in the day before any other country in the world. So, the continent was greeted by Google SCHMICK on the Official Google Australia Blog, a tool to brighten up your house for Google Street view. Quite obviously, looking up for details will make you realise that you've just fallen for the first prank of the day.

Treasure Hunting
The second one for the day involved Google Maps, and a 300+ year old lost/hidden treasure. While this one seems too farfetched for anyone to fall for, Google did give it its all, complete with scanned William "Captain" Kidd's original treasure maps to help "users crack the code". Check out the video here.

Sniffing Through Data
Then came Google Nose Beta. I guess the company realises that if you've heard of the Google Toilet then most users will not take this one seriously. So they actually went out of their way to add the feature to the search results window, complete with a "People also sniffed" section, instead of the regular, "People also searched" options. On its landing page, Google explains how the feature works. "Street Sense vehicles have inhaled and indexed millions of atmospheric miles. Android Ambient Odor Detection collects smells via the world's most sensible mobile operating system. SMELLCD™ 1.8+ high-resolution compatible for precise and controlled odors [sic]". Dubbing the initiative as "One fragrant Google Experience", check out the video explaining how the entire prank works.

Monday Morning Blues
While it's not clear if Google is taking a dig at Microsoft or Facebook with this one, Gmail Blue will surely fool a lot of people because with this one, Google isn't pushing too hard. The Gmail blue video is just endorsing everything blue — icons, fonts, buttons, hyperlinks, browser windows, in fact you'll even be graced by three Blue men in the video. Nice try Google, but not your best effort yet!

That Google+ isn't the most popular social network is an established fact. But that doesn't mean it's out-dated and devoid of users, now does it? Apparently not, as Google add its social networking tool to play apart in its list of unimpressive pranks. A user has put up a post explaining how you can make your picture "more expressive" with the +Emotion option, using "a few properly placed colons, parentheses, letters and hyphens". The post further urges you to give it a whirl: "To give it a try, simply open one of your pictures in the lightbox, and click the "Add emotion" button at the top left of the screen". Like all its other pranks, the comments box will show you that people fell for it without batting an eyelid!

While Google has been pulling such pranks since 2000 (with a lot more success in the past), it also used the day to roll out popular services including Gmail (1st April, 2004).

As it happens, these pranks have been the perfect bait for users disgruntled about Google shutting down what it calls "non-core" services like Google Reader:

Tags : Internet, Google, YouTube, Maps, Google+