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Today is a brand’s favorite day, because it’s time to toy with our emotions. In the spirit of April Fools’ Day, technology and Internet companies everywhere pull out the fake press releases and send them around, hoping we’ll bite. The jokes are sometimes obvious, but other times they’re just believable enough that we sit there wondering if we’re hearing about the stupidest app ever or if it’s a prank.
We get emails about a lot of stupid apps, so it’s a trying day for those of us on the receiving end.
But as we’re made to believe, it’s all in good fun! And this year is no exception. Google regularly has the best pranks or features: This year its Pac-Man Google Maps prank took the Internet by storm and has undoubtedly killed many hours of productivity since launching on Tuesday.
But plenty of other tech companies try their best to make their quirky products go viral for a day. So don’t get fooled: Here’s a running list of all the jokesters out there. You’re all hilarious!
Google always wins
Google kills the April Fools’ game by releasing the most entertaining products each spring with Easter eggs hidden throughout its apps and the Web—at least for a day or two. This year Google turned Maps into a giant Pac-Man game and lets users munch on dots in their own neighborhoods. But that wasn’t the cutest prank Google pulled this year.
In Japan, the company announced Google Panda, a stuffed panda bear with an artificial intelligence interface that communicates with people in the same way Google Search does. You can ask the little panda anything, and it will answer all of your questions. It’s essentially just Google Now, but in the form of a panda. The toy is in part playing off of Google Panda, the 2011 change to Google Search’s algorithm that put low-quality webpages lower in search.
Google also rolled out a selfie reaction feature in Chrome on mobile. When users visit a website, they can tap a button to take a selfie, and the screen splits in two to capture both your face and the website you’re on.
And also, Google Japan’s keyless keyboard. Just… watch it.
Oh and Google has more: Backwards Google. Or, elgooG.
Samsung hits the kitchen
Samsung announced its Galaxy BLADE edge, a mobile device that works like all others in the Galaxy family, except it’s connected to a handle with an extremely sharp edge that the company said could be used as a kitchen knife.
With the Galaxy BLADE edge, Samsung has renewed its focus on functionality. Galaxy devices are no longer just powerful communication devices; they’re also incredibly utilitarian.
Samsung says it was created “with diamonds in mind,” and has an “ergonomic ceramic” body for comfortable chopping and making phone calls.
Parrot is building a UFO
This is so good we want it to be true. Parrot, makers of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles, made a video describing its latest product: a Hollywood-worthy UFO.
It describes in great detail the production of the Flying Saucer Drone, including being powered by lithium-ion 3500 mAh batteries, the same ones we use in smartphones. It’s not too far-fetched to think we might actually have a drone like this in the future. Parrot says it will be ready by December. Our money’s on waiting a little longer.
Airbnb takes you back in time
The travel company announced late Tuesday night that it found a “glitch” in its servers that acts as a time-travel portal to multiple places in time and space. For a limited time, people can now book rooms in the Stone Age, Ancient Greece, Medieval Times, and 1960s San Francisco.
The company blamed this glitch on an over-eager intern who added the mistake six years ago.
“Looking through old support tickets, we’ve found countless reports of dizziness and disorientation,” the blog post read. “We’ve also heard of guests losing track of time and misplacing their cellphones, laptops, and other electronics.”
Looking ‘derp’ is so hot right now
Betabrand is bringing a “derp” look to the runway this April Fools’, thanks to an acquisition by Derp.com, a subsidiary of Internet culture site Cheezburger. Betabrand is promoting this fake new fashion trend with “models who look like they’re sneezing and farting at the same time.”
Considering this crowd-funding fashion company is behind the business yoga pants and disco ball hoodie, this particular style isn’t too far-fetched. But you’ll be hard pressed to get anyone to grimace in that many selfies.
Virgin is heading to Branson, Mo.
Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson is a notorious fan of pranking, and once spent 12 hours in jail thanks to a joke gone awry. This year, in a blog post, he describes how Virgin plans on moving to Branson, Mo., a town his great-great-uncle, Reuben S. Branson, founded.
Virgin America are leading the way, announcing a new flight service to Branson from San Francisco. Virgin Hotels are well on their way to developing their next property in Branson, following in the footsteps of Virgin Hotels Chicago. Meanwhile, Virgin Limited Edition has announced their next luxury property will be based in Branson, offering guests exclusive wagon trails.
Most people understood it was a joke, but a handful of commenters thought Branson’s post was earnest. Even more readers criticized the chairman for getting residents excited about the influx of economic opportunity, all for an April Fools’ joke.
The company hasn’t confirmed or denied that it is, in fact, a prank, but there are a number of people in the Midwestern city that are undoubtedly quite disappointed.
Hinge is matching toddlers for playdates
The mobile dating application is trying its hand at a joke while simultaneously making people feel rather uncomfortable. Hinge announced “Play Dating,” a service that matches toddlers between the ages of 2 and 5 with other kids in their area looking for a “quality” play date.
Hinge’s dating application works within your friend group, making sure you aren’t hooking up with a complete and total stranger. The false toddler matchmaking application is based on the same premise, so parents won’t have to worry about their kids hanging out with people they don’t already know.
Polling app Wedgies releases emoji tool entirely in emoji
At least Wedgies is releasing an actual product today, even if it is ridiculous! The company that enables real-time survey tools for apps and websites, wrote an emoji press release announcing that everyone’s favorite graphics are now available in polls and surveys through Wedgies. Perhaps even more awesome (and not a joke at all!) is Wedgies’ JQuery plugin that lets developers add support for emojis to any text input on Web apps.
Wedgies open-sourced the project on GitHub.
One joke that didn’t quite land
When people or companies or brands try to mess with people the day before April 1, it can be pretty tacky, especially when they take the joke way too far. That’s what happened with Boogie, a marketing firm that tried to trick people into thinking a vibrating app called Chute could protect your phone from shattering when it falls from 10 feet or less.
The New York Observer fell for the prank, and apparently Chute stuck to its guns throughout an entire interview. The Observer reports that a supposed company representative “stayed in character” the whole time.
Not only is it pretty lame to prank people in March, it’s also a great way to burn bridges with reporters and potential customers.
Advertising company releases zombie virus
If you are going to try and capitalize on April Fools’, at least make it obvious that your press release is a prank. Advertising and rewards startup Lootsie has the right idea, and released a zombie software development kit (ZOM-SDK) for application developers to implement in their apps and reward people for using their services.
It’s exactly what Lootsie does as an advertising startup—letting people earn but Lootsie is referring to app users as zombies, instead of people. Though the thought of zombies as advertising consumers really brings up some interesting philosophical questions.
DeviantART has a stylish prank
Everyone’s favorite online art community is getting into hardware with the Stylus IRL! That’s right, it’s a pen. The device even comes in, get this, different ink shades, works on paper, and never runs out of battery.
Twitter’s joke sounds a little too real
Twitter is also getting into the hardware business, at least for April Fools’ Day. The company announced its new Twelfie Stick, which is exactly what it sounds like: a selfie stick that automatically tweets out your selfies. Somewhere, someone out there is making sure this isn’t patented and drawing up plans to release one in time for holiday shopping season.
PlayStation reinvents VR
PlayStation purportedly has a new headset: the Flow. When you get to a swimming area in your game, you pause it, sync up your goggles, get to your nearest body of water, put on the device, and submerge yourself. It comes with a body dryer so you can get back to gaming without electrocuting yourself.
I sort of want it.
CanvasPop goes full sensory immersion
CanvasPop is one of those nifty services that prints your Instagram images and makes them look even more beautiful. But sight and touch aren’t enough, so today it’s “launching” scratch-and-sniff items. “We’ve partnered with the scent-ologists at Scentient Labs, world-leaders in sustainable scent reproduction technology, to create the world’s most remarkable Scratch-and-Sniff canvas prints.”
Probably best this isn’t real because our homes would smell like coffee art and burgers.
IKEA’s prank… might be real
OK, so IKEA is launching a selfie stick holder… which, actually, I’m fairly certain people would buy. But alas, no: If you click and try and add the selfie stick holder, or Lura, to your basket, you get this message:
It’s funny now, until someone actually makes a ton of money off this thing.
Uber and Tinder team up and it’s creepy
Tinder for Uber and Uber for Tinder are the result of an April Fools’ Day partnership between two of the most-used and simultaneously creep-filled apps out there. The supposed concept? Tinder for Uber finds you an Uber driver to match with who will split the fare with you, and Uber for Tinder lets you automatically request an Uber when you get a match on Tinder so you two can meet. Yeah, these don’t seem all that far-fetched.
Uber for Tinder
So possible, it’s scary
Microsoft has a new, old idea for mobile
It’s no secret that Microsoft has struggled to make an impact on mobile. Its Windows Phones haven’t been able to find mass adoption, and the Surface lineup has faced some challenges as well. So what do you do when all those new ideas aren’t quite landing? You can back to the basics. Today Microsoft is pranking us with MS-DOS for Lumia smartphones, a retro, throw-back operating system that looks like it belongs on a giant computer in your sixth-grade classroom. You can even download the app now. If you have a Lumia, of course.
A big announcement, CERN has
CERN is always making big, huge, mind-blowing announcements about its discoveries, which is why it’s pretty unfair for the organization to participate in April Fools’ Day. But why should app developers have all the fun? CERN would like you to know that the Force, à la Star Wars, is real.
It’s actually nice to know the same people responsible for discovering the “God particle” have a sense of humor.
A dark, insta-joke
Wow, Instapainting went morbid for its prank: The Instagram art service made an announcement today that it would no longer be using child labor. There’s a castration joke, to boot:
As of April 1, 2015, your photos are no longer painted by children. No children are allowed to touch—or even look at—your paintings. Heck, we have even removed all of our artists who own children and castrated the remainder, just to be safe.
Who needs wheels?
Car service Hailo is introducing its Piggy Back feature today. But not really, of course.
The best part of this joke is that this was a real thing that Lyft did at South by Southwest a few years ago. This proves once and for all that SXSW is so ridiculous, things other people joke about are realities there.
Photo via Google/YouTube
Molly McHugh is the tech editor of the Daily Dot, focusing on technology, social media, sports, and streaming entertainment. Her work has also appeared in Wired and the Ringer.
Selena Larson is a technology reporter based in San Francisco who writes about the intersection of technology and culture. Her work explores new technologies and the way they impact industries, human behavior, and security and privacy. Since leaving the Daily Dot, she's reported for CNN Money and done technical writing for cybersecurity firm Dragos.