April Fools’ Day is, depending on your individual point of view, either a pathetic waste of everyone’s time and energy that you try to avoid as much as possible or 24 hours of fun that marks a welcome break from the doom and gloom which dominates the rest of the year. The Web was once virtually free of April Fools’ Day pranks, but now it’s awash with them each time the calendar clicks over to the fourth month.
This year was no exception, with Google leading the way with Google Nose, Gmail Blue, and the end of YouTube. There were other high-profile entries too, from the likes of Twitter, Sony, and Nokia. However, for all of these well-known and oft-reported April Fools’ Day pranks there were ones that didn’t quite get the attention that they (perhaps) deserved.
What follows is a list of April Fools’ Day pranks with a tech twist that you may have missed.
Crowdfund The National Debt
The Pitch: Countries around the world are struggling to get their national debts under control, the United States included. Forget raising taxes, let’s all just pledge what we can to get it under control once and for all.
The Reality: This is a viral April Fools’ Day commercial for Crowdtilt, a crowd-funding service focused on making it easier for groups to band together to pay for something.
The Pitch: With G4 being rebranded as the Esquire Network, Revision3 decided it would be a good idea to follow suit. So all of its shows are being rebranded as magazines from the days when old media ruled.
The Reality: This is nothing more than a dig at G4 for what some considered a backwards step. Print magazines are, after all, dying, with Web television surely one of the media replacing them.
The Reality: This is actually a clever promotional effort from Sprint, a U.S,-based wireless provider. The company benefits from people using their mobiles as much as possible, hence the thinking here.
Twitter Vs. Tweeter
The Pitch: How dare Twitter assume control of the word tweet and talk about people tweeting when a bird named Woodstock is the original tweeter. Peanuts wants Twitter off the Internet, and fast.
The Reality: A nice way to draw attention to Peanuts, the comic strip produced by Charles M. Schulz for 50 years from 1950 to 2000.
Blue Jeans Sniff RTC
The Pitch: It’s all well and good being able to see and hear the people in a video meeting with you, but what you really want to do is smell them. No? Blue Jeans thinks so, and its Sniff RTC is the possible solution.
The Reality: Blue Jeans is, as already patently obvious from the video, a company dedicated to video conferencing. This April Fools’ Day prank was designed to promote the company, and clearly worked.
The Pitch: Vimeo is one of the many alternatives to YouTube, one which is home to some of the best short films from around the world. There’s just one thing missing… cats, and lots of them. Meet Vimeow.
The Reality: Don’t worry, Vimeo isn’t morphing into a video platform just for cats and the humans that love their feline friends. It did, but only for the 24 hours that together formed April 1, 2013.
The Pitch: Google is the undisputed master at creating April Fools’ Day pranks online, producing several each year, many of which are epic. This is one by Google Nigeria, poking fun at the country’s reputation.
The Reality: This hasn’t got anything to do with Google, instead being the brainchild of Shed Simove. All of the Google-esque links on the fake Google Nigeria page lead to his personal website.
The Cutest Viral Video Of All Time
The Pitch: A panda and a baby together? Now that is cute, so this is a must-see future viral video classic. Oh, stop with the commercials, I want to see the cuteness overload. Screw you, Google!
The Reality: There actually is no epic viral video featuring a panda and a baby. You can keep clicking to skip the ads all you want, but it won’t do you any good whatsoever. Suckers.
Hopefully these pranks are all still live as you read this, but the nature of April Fools’ Day pranks on the Web means some may have already disappeared from the sites responsible for them. In which case all that remains is the screenshot or video proving that someone, somewhere was once creative enough to concoct a clever concept for April Fools’ Day.
What do you think of the April Fools’ Day pranks listed above? Or the other ones that were played on the Web as a whole in 2013? What about those played in previous years? Do you love that Google spends so much time creating April Fools’ Day pranks or do you wish the company’s employees spent their time a little more sensibly? As always we’re keen to hear your thoughts on the matter, so please feel free to leave a comment below.
Image Credit: Eric Heunthep