Either its April Fools’ Day, or Google really had a ton of new products and services to announce today.
Google is known for taking April 1 fairly, well, seriously, with some of the most elaborate April Fools’ jokes on the Web. Here’s a run down of what the company had in store for its users this year.
One of the company’s most successful viral videos — with nearly 6 million views — was for Google Maps 8-bit version for the NES game system.
1. YouTube is shutting down
According to its company blog, YouTube was started in 2005 merely as a way to find the best online video in the world. “Nearly eight years later, with 72 hours of video being uploaded every minute, we finally have enough content to close the competition.”
So say goodbye to your cat videos. Apparently, experts will name the best online video ever later today. Watch the video:
2. Google Nose
Get ready for “the new scentsation in search”: Google Nose, the only tool that allows you to search for smells. (Only in BETA testing.)
The product, which has apparently cataloged “15 million scentibyte database of smells from around the world,” promises to “offer the sharpest olfactory experience available.”
Confused? Watch the video:
3. Google Treasure Maps
According to Google, a 2012 deep sea expedition off the coast of Madagascar — to get underwater Street View photos (real, not April Fools’ related) — led to the discovery of infamous pirate William “Captain” Kidd’s treasure maps. And, thus, the birth of Google Maps: Treasure Mode.
According to its blog, “We need your help to decipher these symbols and find Captain Kidd’s treasures; therefore we’ve decided to digitize the map and make it accessible to everyone.”
4. Gmail Blue
Celebrating its ninth anniversary today (that’s right, the real Gmail was released around April Fools’ day), Gmail is getting a makeover and going blue.
Says product manager Richard Pargo, “It’s Gmail, only bluer.” The bold button is blue. Underline is blue. Italics is blue.
They tried for brown, but that was a “disaster.”
5. Google SCHMICK aka Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Australians can makeover their humdrum houses for Google Streetview with Google SCHMICK, the “Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit.”
It solves basic homeowner problems — “Graffiti on the front fence? Cover it with so many palm trees people will think they’re on the Vegas strip” — and allows you to install Christmas lights, buffalo grass, even a “sheep or two and a kangaroo like Uncle Burke.”
Here’s a before:
6. Google Enterprise’s Levity App
Boring business emails can get a kick of fun with Google Enterprise’s “Levilty Algorithm,” made in conjunction with Chicago’s Second City Communications. That’s the improv troupe that fostered the likes of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
The app can rename boring meetings like “business roundtable discussion” to “Drinks with S. Colbert” or “Peanut Butter Jelly Time.”
Watch the funny video below:
7. Google + Emotion
According to a company blog post, you can now add an emoticon to indicate how you’re really feeling in specific Google + Photos.
“Many months of research on how people communicate on the Internet have convinced us that when it comes to expressing yourself, nothing beats the richness and elegance of a few properly placed colons, parentheses, letters and hyphens.”
🙂 :O :/ … “These representations of your innermost emotions are simple, and best of all, unambiguous :P”
7. Google Analytics
Some users are reporting finding “41″ (April 1) visitors from the International Space Station in their Analytics accounts. Seeing as every report is for exactly 41, it’s pretty safe to assume this is part of today’s shenanigans.
Those are the highlights, but you can find a few other pranks here.
So what did you think of this year’s pranks? Do share with us some of your favorites with us as well 😉