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April Fools' day in the tech industry: roundup
April Fool’s day is perhaps one of the most loved (and confusing) days of the year. Throughout the day, you have all sorts of people and companies joining in on the fun. It has actually progressed to the point where the average blogger can’t really believe anything they read or hear during the entire day.
If you are interested in what companies pulled off which jokes but weren’t able to keep up over April 1, rest easy as we have compiled the most notable ones here.
The king of April Fool’s jokes when it come to tech companies, Google certainly didn’t disappoint this year. They released several different pranks that span a wide variety of services. To find an in-depth description of what Google had up its sleeve this year, check our roundup from earlier today.
Microsoft actually pulled a couple pranks to help generate some excitement. Perhaps the most amusing one was that when a user searches “google” on the Bing search engine, the site transforms into a comical replication of Google’s own homepage. Microsoft has changed Google’s popular “I’m feeling lucky button” to a “I’m feeling confused button.” Clicking the button actually just brings you to Bing’s blog.
Like Google, Microsoft also faked a product launch by supposedly releasing the Do Not Track Suit. This obviously pokes fun at all of the tension regarding browsers that support “Do Not Track.” The Do Not Track Suit is a “wearable computing appliance” that is useful if the user wants to block him or herself from the digital world.
The Pirate Bay
Popular bitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay celebrated by changing their name to The Freedom Bay and by moving all of their servers to the United States. The US has been notorious for their anti-piracy actions and have been particularly hostile towards TBP in particular. The tracker even goes on to say that all US-based downloads will receive extra power to ensure that all Americans can get their content faster.
Virgin’s Richard Branson posted that Virgin will be creating the world’s first plane with a glass floor. This will of course allow you to see the world as you pass over it, making air travel absolutely terrifying. Branson says “This really is a team effort from all corners of Virgin.” While this one isn’t too far-fetched, using this type of aircraft commercially would obviously induce quite a bit of anxiety from the passengers.
Hulu got in the spirit by announcing the release of fictional TV shows that are featured in other popular TV shows. Hulu announced “Inspector Spacetime” from Community, both “MILF Island” and “The Rural Juror” from 30 Rock and “The Itchy and Scratch Show” from The Simpsons. This is another example where some users might not even realize it is a joke, especially if they are not familiar with the original shows.
Twitter announced that in an attempt to encourage more “efficient and dense” communication, it is dropping vowels from all of its text. “Twttr” will be the basic free service that is available to everyone. If you prefer to keep your vowels, you can fork over $5 a month to upgrade to the traditional version. The company says that “Twttr will roll out slowly to a small percentage of users, growing to 100% over the next few days.”
Sony took the opportunity to announce its new line of electronics specifically geared towards pets. With its new Animalia line of tech products, Sony released products targeted specifically at owners of dogs, cats, and hamsters. The services are dubbed K9 4K TV, M3-OW KittyCans, and In-Cage Speakers. That translates to a TV for your dog, headphones for your cat, and speakers that can go inside of your hamster’s cage.
Netflix’s prank was actually so subtle, some users just assumed it was a normal function of the site. As you may or may not be aware, Netflix categorizes shows for you on their front page. Sometimes the categories are general, but other times they can actually get so specific that its really comical. Today, some categories just seemed a little too specific to be real and as it turns out, they were.
The popular image hosting website Imgur joined in on the fun by releasing its latest service Snail Mail. Snail Mail is a new and innovative way of uploading your photos where you actually mail the physical photos to Imgur. No longer do those who prefer film cameras have to deal with inconvenient photo scanners to digitize their photos. Simply send your photos off to Imgur’s PO box and you’re good to go!
deviantART is a popular place on the web for artists to get together and share art. In honor of April Fool’s, the company is launching deviantHEART. deviantHEART is a dating site specifically dedicated to artists. The site will use “advanced matching technology” to perfectly match artists to the love of their lives. This obviously pokes fun at the fact that many dating services are geared towards a specific type of person.
Toshiba decided to have some fun by releasing the Shibasphere, dubbed the “most insane game console ever.” The concept is based on the Kinect-type of controller-less gameplay. Because Toshiba knows that gamers can get angry, the device uses Logical Aggression Monitoring to make sure that you don’t get too angry at your games.
Nokia tried to fool consumers today by releasing its own microwave oven. The Nokia 5AM-TH1N6 Constellation is a touch screen microwave that sports a “superfast, water-cooled 8-core high-voltage transformer, which brings a combined performance of 5,000 watts to end-users.” Perhaps the best feature is that the touch screen can be operated with oven mitts, making it a must have for any serious chef.
Perhaps the biggest and cruelest April Fool’s joke of them all came directly from former Google China chief Kai-fu Lee. As you may or may not be aware, both Facebook and Twitter are banned by China’s “Great Firewall.” This means that you cannot access the services unless you are using some sort of VPN. Well, Lee actually posted that starting today, Chinese users will now have access to both of these sites. This one may have hit a little too close to h0me for some people in the county and will likely remain as one of the most infamous tricks played this year.
As you can see, April Fool’s day was extremely popular among tech companies this year, a fad started by Google initially. As the years progress, it will probably turn into a giant competition to see who can pull of the most ridiculous one. So what company do you think had the best prank(s)?