April Fools’ Day Roundup


It’s April Fools’ Day and once again the tech world has provided many of the spoof stories.

Perennial pranksters Google have got a weird one: a bogus addition to a genuine service that itself started out as a prank. Several years ago the company made a joke post on April 1 about Gmail being able to automatically create replies to messages based on the contents. Staff took that idea as inspiration for a real project to test artificial intelligence, which led to the creation of Smart Reply for the Inbox by Gmail app.

Now they have taken today as an opportunity to pretend the service is getting updates with the addition of automated emoji replies based on context, whether it be a string of Zs for a boring message or the classic curling turd for unwelcome approaches.


Another Gmail prank backfired, mainly because Google tried to make it a (temporary) reality. The one-day only feature added an extra send option that would automatically inset a GIF of a Minion character dropping a microphone and walking away. Within a matter of hours Google had to apologize and withdraw the feature after hearing multiple reports of users accidentally pressing the wrong send button and including the mic drop in replies with awkward results.

Google did also seem willing to make itself the butt of the joke, spoofing Google Cardboard with the supposed launch of Google Plastic:

It also mocked 360 degree videos with the claim of a new YouTube feature that lets you watch any video as if Snoop Dogg was in the room with you.

Samsung mocked the obsessions of many firms (including itself) with the Internet of Things and wearable tech by revealing the Internet of Trousers (pictured at the to of the post), which will include electric shocks if you sit down too long; waist pressure pads that automatically lock your fridge when your trousers are getting too tight; and text alerts to your phone if you leave your fly undone for too long.

ThinkGeek has added a host of spoof products, the best of which is baRPG, an alcohol-themed board game that it describes as “Dungeon Crawl Meets Pub Crawl.”


Display manufacturer Prysm uses some wonderful jargon and buzzwords to describe its supposed new product, a spray-on display that lets you create a screen on any flat surface with an aerosol can.

Gift firm Man Crates explains how it is using genetics to bring back extinct creatures such as the dodo and woolly mammoth to use in exciting new jerky treats:

The Royal Albert Hall has supposedly struck a deal with CERN to take advantage of its circular hallways to build a scaled-down Large Hadron Collider.

On the fringes of technology, online insurer Esurance takes a dig at current affairs by supposedly offering cover for people who want to protect their home if they decide to flee the country if upcoming election results don’t go as they hope:

The award for worst prank has to go to Opera for its utterly lame and unconvincing move into a new platform, namely paper (or rather cardboard):

Not everyone seems to appreciate April Fools’ Day however. China’s state run news agency posted to say that “April Fools’ Day’ is not consistent with our cultural tradition, or socialist core values. Hope nobody believes in rumors, makes rumors or spreads rumors.”

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