Every year, Google goes all out for April Fools’ Day. The company not only pulls together more jokes than all the other tech giants, but the company makes a point to outdo itself too. It honestly gets difficult to keep track of everything Google thinks up, so Like Last Year I'm putting together a roundup.
1. Google Maps Treasure Mode
First up, Google has created a new treasure map mode on Google Maps. Last year, the company showed off an 8-bit version, but this year it wants you to go out and explore 2D hand drawn landmarks, find hidden treasure chests, and “Beaware of pirates!” (yep, that’s a typo).
Google’s announcement talks of the Google Maps Street View team finding a treasure map belonging to the infamous pirate, William “Captain” Kidd, on a recent expedition in the Indian Ocean to expand its underwater Street View collection. The map contains a variety of encrypted symbols which you are tasked with deciphering:
Google’s headquarters naturally gets a special flag:
2. YouTube’s ready to select a winner
Next up is the closing of YouTube. Apparently all this time the site has been an eight-year contest, the goal of which was to find the best video ever created. Google is getting ready to pick the winner; at midnight on April Fools’ it is shutting down the site (the company will relaunch it many years later with just the winning video).
Google says it has 30,000 technicians working on narrowing down the list. It has even managed to get YouTube celebrities, commenters, as well as film reviewers on board to participate in the prank.
“And be sure to tune in for Day 1 of our live ceremony from 9 a.m. PT, April 1, when we will begin announcing the ‘Best Video’ nominees,” Google writes in its blog post. “This announcement will resume for 12 hours every day for the next two years.”
3. Google Nose
Third on our list is Google Nose, which has a nice big BETA tag. As its name implies, the service lets you search to find out what your queries smell like. Queue the “Google Nose everything about you” jokes.
Here’s how Google pulled it off:
- Street Sense vehicles have inhaled and indexed millions of atmospheric miles.
- Android Ambient Odor Detection collects smells via the world’s most sensible mobile operating system.
- SMELLCD™ 1.8+ high-resolution compatible for precise and controlled odors.
We’d try it if we could. The blue try button redirects you to amusing searches such as “wet dog,” “used napkin,” or “diaper.”
4. Google+ photos get +Emotion
Over on Google+, you can now add “stylized emotions” to your photos. Just open one of your pictures in the lightbox, click the “Add emotion” button at the top left of the screen, and then watch as Google figures out everyone’s emotion in the photo and adds an “emotion icon” to each.
5. Gmail Blue
Google has made everything blue in Gmail. All characters, buttons, and menus are now blue. The Blue Man Group even makes an appearance.
Next stop on the April Fools Google Train? “Gmail Blue.”That should explain itself, but just in case, it took Google “six years to develop the technology” to turn Gmail blue. Google turns nine tomorrow, and it might as well just go for it.
6. Visitors from the International Space Station – Control Room
If you’re a Google Analytics users, you might find this one amusing.
7. Google SCHMICK
This one’s another Google Maps joke. The company’s Australian team lets you spruce up the look of your house with Google SCHMICK (Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit). The post notes there are “hundreds of themes and features to choose from,” and even starts you off with some ideas to get started:
Feeling patriotic? Why not fly the Australian flag, leave some lamingtons out for Skippy or permanently switch on ‘Night View’ to place the Southern Cross directly above your inner city terrace. Perhaps, you’ll choose to add in a sheep or two and a kangaroo like Uncle Burke, throw in a miniature replica of Coffs Harbour’s Big Banana, or ‘go international’ and throw the Big Ben on top of that new second story you’ve just added to your house.Can’t afford the electricity bill for a Christmas lights display? Worry no longer. You can now install a virtual festive display to suit any holiday and put the neighbours to shame in seconds. Create an Easter egg hunt for your kids, build a 360-degree haunted house panorama for trespassers or pretend you’re in the northern hemisphere and let it snow on your front porch. Or, if you don’t have a front porch, simply add one in using the House Builder tool.
Here’s the result:
8. Google Fiber Poles
This one is a feature I actually wouldn’t mind if Google wasted money on. Google’s engineers have decided to roll out Google Fiber to utility poles, so you can get Gigabit speeds wherever you can get electricity.
9. Google Apps gets Levity Algorithm
The newly added Levity Algorithm in Google Apps spices up “even the most boring of work days” by letting you send happier emails, hold more engaging meetings, write more mind-blowing presentations, and so on. I just finished watching the season finale of Walking Dead and then this guy pops up on my screen:
10. Google Wallet Mobile ATM
Here’s another fun one: the company has introduced Google Wallet Mobile ATM. The device attaches to your smartphone after which it “dispenses money instantly and effortlessly– forever ending your search for the nearest bank or ATM.” All you have to do is type in your personal pin code on your cell phone to access all your cash from the palm of your hand by entering the amount you want via touch or voice. Here’s the best part: “If your mobile ATM is running low on funds, a self-driving, armored, hybrid vehicle will be alerted and dispatched to your location – arriving within minutes to quickly and safely refill their ATM.”
11. Google Analytics adds support for legacy technology
Over the next few weeks, Google will be rolling out a new set of old school export options for Analytics that go beyond the Web: CDROM, 3.5 floppy, sticky note, and papyrus. At the same time, the company is also adding new send-to options: fax machine, electronic telegraph, carrier pigeon, and telegram messenger.
12. Google Japan adds Patapata support
This one is in Japanese, so here’s the translation to get you started. In short, users can now input text using the “Patapata,” a device with just one button. “You no longer have to remember anything. Japanese input just press and release.”
13. Google Play Developer Console lets you add an “Awesome” app
Those with Google Play Developer accounts have received an “Add new awesome application” option in the dashboard. Google says it will help you build a new app with “advanced machine learning algorithms.”