Google leads the way on April Fool’s Day

Once again it’s the first of April, a day when every Facebook status and Twitter post is best treated as fake for the sake of your sanity. And once again the world of technology has been at the heart of many April Fool’s Day hoaxes. Here’s our round-up of the claims and our assessment of whether there’s any believability to them:

Google has been all over today’s announcements. The UK homepage brings us news of a new application for Android devices: Translate for Animals. If you’ve ever wondered what your pet is saying, the same technology which translates languages can now translate animal noises:

Credibility: It’s unlikely we’ll see something working with all animals to such a degree of detail and accuracy any time soon, but there’s some logic to the idea.

The company has also announced a new feature for Google Docs. As of May, physical items can now be stored in the cloud. For just 10 cents per kilogram, you can have anything you like taken away within three hours. As the slogan goes, “Ever wish you could CTRL+F your keys?”

Credibility: The only thing preventing this becoming a reality is the laws of physics. Well, that and a loophole discovered by one supposed happy customer who has a 10TB hard drive and can now get it stored for just 25 cents.

And it’s not just specific services where Google is ringing in the changes for April 1st. In honor of Topeka, Kansas changing its name to Google during March (a genuine incident which was part of a bid to be a test site for Google’s 1-gigabit broadband), Google says it will be changing its name to Topeka.

The change will not be easy: as the firm concedes, Topeka News and Topeka Maps don’t exactly convey the impression of a global service. The public will also have to be reeducated to proper usage of the term:

Credibility: You’re more likely to “CTRL+F” your keys than see Google drop its brand name for an unprotected term.

Also Google Wave has been tweaked: when you get a new message, a human will find you wherever you are in the world and alert you with a wave:

Credibility: While the in-person alert is clearly not financially viable, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see somebody offer an on-screen animation of a person waving as a form of alert.

Just in case that wasn’t enough from one company, Google searches for the day have been slightly tweaked so that the details of the time a search took are now presented in a range of alternative timescales such as skidoos, jiffys and microweeks.

Among other companies, YouTube announced it is launching a text only option to save on bandwidth costs:

Credibility: It doesn’t seem that likely, though anyone who’s old enough to remember ASCII art might be briefly confused.

Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph newspaper in the United Kingdom brings news that a cable internet provider in the country is training ferrets to deliver broadband. They’ll be sent underground wearing special jackets fitted with microchips which can detect damage to fiber-optic cable.

Credibility: It might take some training, animal welfare groups could have some questions, and there probably isn’t enough space around cable to squeeze them, but other than this it sounds pretty plausible.

Fellow Brit newspaper the Independent reports that staff at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) want to create a second Large Hadron Collider using one of the lines of the London Underground (a subway system) which forms a 23 mile circle. As an added bonus, the supercooled magnets involved in the new system would replace the need for air conditioning for passengers.

Credibility: We at GeeksAreSexy try to stay out of politics, but if you knew the current Mayor of London, you’d know it’s probably risky to give him ideas like this, even as a joke.

But the clear winner of April Fool’s Day 2010 has to be Hulu, which has gone to the trouble of producing a 10-minute video, supposedly for internal use only and mistakenly leaked, which reveals how the site is a front for a global conspiracy.

Credibility: If it wasn’t for the date and the fact that it’s hosted on Hulu’s own site, the sheer effort that was involved would make this a serious candidate for genuinely fooling people.

Of course, these certainly aren’t the only gags out there: do let us know if the comments section if you’ve spotted a better one.

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14 Responses to Google leads the way on April Fool’s Day

  1. The Science / Nature merger announcement amused me: "Science and Nature have ended their historic battle for the world’s best basic science articles, agreeing to cease their respective publications and co-launch an open-access, online-only journal with an innovative democratic peer-review system, sources at both journals revealed this morning." http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/04/sci

    But that may be because I'm a science librarian in the middle of having to cut our journals budget, and if we could cancel those two because they were open access, all my budget problems would be solved.

    Credibility: all the stuff they talk about is possible, but there ain't no way in hell either of them would give up their subscription model.

  2. Actually, the YouTube text version is legit. There seems to be an overlay of some kind over the video, because it updates pretty much instantly.

  3. Actually, the YouTube text version is legit. There seems to be an overlay of some kind over the video, because it updates pretty much instantly.

  4. Improv Everywhere hosts an annual No Pants Subway Ride in New York City, well now they've posted a video about their newest "No Underwear Subway Ride"

    • That's a good one. Funnily enough, the No Pants event has never really caught on over here in the UK as "pants" refers to underwear rather than trousers here!

    • That’s a good one. Funnily enough, the No Pants event has never really caught on over here in the UK as “pants” refers to underwear rather than trousers here!

  5. The Science / Nature merger announcement amused me: "Science and Nature have ended their historic battle for the world’s best basic science articles, agreeing to cease their respective publications and co-launch an open-access, online-only journal with an innovative democratic peer-review system, sources at both journals revealed this morning." http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/04/sci

    But that may be because I'm a science librarian in the middle of having to cut our journals budget, and if we could cancel those two because they were open access, all my budget problems would be solved.

    Credibility: all the stuff they talk about is possible, but there ain't no way in hell either of them would give up their subscription model.

  6. However stupid, Deviant Art changed everyone's icons and signatures into Twilight, Seeker, and Lady Gaga as well as launching a llama badge.

  7. However stupid, Deviant Art changed everyone’s icons and signatures into Twilight, Seeker, and Lady Gaga as well as launching a llama badge.

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