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For second year in a row, Google is canceling April Fools' Day jokes

The decision to nix April Fools' Day has to do with the ongoing pandemic.

Published onMarch 31, 2021

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  • An internal memo obtained by Business Insider suggested there would be no Google April Fools’ Day gag this year. Google later confirmed this.
  • This is the second year in a row Google’s skipped its long-standing tradition.
  • Google stated that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the reason behind this decision.

Every year, Google has had a ton of fun with April Fools’ Day gags. One of the best was Gmail Paper, which would have allowed users to send their email via standard post — on “94% post-consumer organic soybean sputum,” with sputum being the mucus you cough up when making a phlegm bomb.

Last year, though, Google canceled this annual event. Now, according to a leaked memo obtained by Business Insider, there once again will not be a Google April Fools’ Day prank this year. This is now the second year in a row and only the second time since 2004 that Google has not participated in the tradition.

Related: Here are Google’s April Fools’ Day gags: From Google Tulip to spoon bending in Gboard

As with last year, the reasoning behind this change is the COVID-19 pandemic. With much of the world still in dire straits thanks to the virus, Google feels it’s just not the right time for jokes.

No Google April Fools’ Day gag in 2021

The source of this information is a leaked internal memo obtained by Business Insider. Google later confirmed the authenticity of that memo. In the letter to Google employees, Google VP Marvin Chow has this to say:

Throughout the past year, I have been so inspired by how helpful our products, programs, and people have been during humanity’s toughest times. We’ve done it with sensitivity and empathy, reflecting the range of challenging experiences so many are experiencing globally. As you will remember, last year we made the decision to pause our longstanding Google tradition of celebrating April Fools’ Day, out of respect for all those fighting COVID-19. With much of the world still grappling with serious challenges, we feel we should again pause the jokes for April Fools’ Day this year. Like we did last year, we should continue to find appropriate ways to bring moments of joy to our users throughout the year.

As with last year, Google employees can still “celebrate” April Fools’ Day with things that aren’t flat-out pranks and/or fabrications. In the memo, Chow refers to things like Easter Eggs (the software kind, not the real kind) and Google Doodles as good ways to have fun with the day.

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