It’s April 2nd, and news sites have gone back to reporting the news instead of inventing it. Yesterday’s annual festival of invented headlines, some convincing, some lame, many frighteningly plausible, was as popular as ever with websites.
We played two pranks of our own: the introduction of certification for U.S. designers, and Apple turning to Flash for website security. But is All Fools’ Day popular with everyone? Are there some people who’d prefer to simply turn off the internet and work offline for the day?
Why do we feel the need to prank each other? Are we playing Devil’s advocate on serious points we can't normally discuss, or are we simply indulging in the ridiculous?
In case you missed them, or weren’t sure if they were genuine news stories, here’s our roundup of the gags we enjoyed the most yesterday.
Google Treasure Maps
Google also tried to entice us away from work with a One-Eyed Willy style treasure map. Google Maps supposedly allowed you to collaborate with Goonies across the globe to track down the treasure of Captain Kidd. I really wanted this one to be true.
We don’t think anyone actually fell for this, but it’s a great idea: user testing feedback offered by cats. usertesting.com did a great job of making us laugh while promoting their service.
Every year Google seem to blow their PR budget on high production value pranks. One of several in 2013 was Google Nose Beta, an implausible addition to Google's range of search products.
YouTube shuts down
In the current economy, businesses everywhere are shutting down. Including, supposedly, YouTube who admitted that their entire raison d'être over the last eight years was to find the 'Best Video in the World'. Obviously, YouTube was still up this morning, but they did a great job of selling this one.
Twitter announced that it would be splitting its site in two: a full paid version that would cost $5 per month, and a free version called Twttr with all vowels removed.
Virgin’s glass bottomed plane
Virgin Atlantic released a story that they were introducing glass bottomed planes, giving everyone a window seat. Actually, once you got over the terror of takeoff and landing, this one could have been pretty cool if it had been true.
WestJet’s Furry Family
Airlines seem to be very keen to get in on the joke. WestJet introduced their ‘Furry Family’ service, allowing you to carry your pet in the airline cabin. Sadly, they didn’t quite have the nerve to stick to the prank, and fessed up before the end of their video.
Irish airline Aer Lingus have ‘introduced’ a number of changes, including boarding by clan, staff in hurling uniforms, live Irish folk music in the cabin, and traditional Irish folk dance during the safety briefing. Just like WestJet, they couldn’t maintain the poker face either.
Nokia’s microwave oven
If it hadn’t been announced yesterday, we might have fallen for Nokia’s microwave oven announcement. With features such as eye-tracking technology to stop the turntable when it’s looked at, and apps to let you rate food, maybe they should build it, it might rescue their bottomline.
Sony entertained us with a new lineup of tech targeted at ‘domestic fauna’.
Parodying the hype surrounding new product launches, Google (again) pokes fun at itself with the ‘launch’ of Google Blue: it’s Google Mail, only blue. If they know that tech launches often seem as full of hot air as this, why don't they do something different?
Scope mouthwash released Scope Bacon, a bacon flavored mouthwash.
A special message from POTUS
A special message from President Obama? Are we at war with North Korea? Is a meteor on a collision course with the Earth? Strangely even the leader of the free world got in on the act, with whitehouse.gov releasing an unusual presidential announcement.
Did you fall for an April Fools' prank this year? Do you enjoy All Fools' Day or wish it would go away? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image/thumbnail, laughter image via Shutterstock.
Ben Moss has designed and coded work for award-winning startups, and global names including IBM, UBS, and the FBI. When he’s not in front of a screen he’s probably out trail-running.