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1 April

Google Nose and 15 other April Fool's Day jokes

For the day that’s in it.

GOOGLE WENT ALL out today, announcing new and innovative products and services.

First off, it claimed its Street View team uncovered a treasure map belonging to the infamous pirate William Captain Kidd. And as a result, it was launching Treasure Mode for finding gold and stuff.

Across the hall, YouTube said it was ready to pick the best video of all time. Oh, and management said the site is due to be shut down tonight, only to reopen when they are ready to announce the winner in 10 years.

But, most impressively, Google launched Google Nose. The Internet’s new scentsation lets people smell whatever they’ve search for. Examples include a campfire, cabernet, garlic breath, wet dog, used clothes and fear.

Instructions read: “Bring your nose as close as you can to the screen and press Enter.” The scent is then transmitted. If you need help, it’s there for you too.

But it all smelled a bit fishy. Yes, today is the media and Internet’s favourite day. You may even have been taken in my the number of false stories being placed on the web and in papers this morning. Because it’s well past noon now – the time by which it’s informally adjudged to be in bad taste to pull a fast one on a reader – we thought we’d digest some of the rest of the best.

Tony Bates, president of Skype, announced instant messaging in space, additional language supports for any new life forms and automatic video rotation so if you “float around in zero gravity while on a video call, the person you’re calling will always see you the right way up.”

Twitter announced a shift in its business model that would see a two-tiered service: those with vowels and those without. If you want a good a, e, i, o or u, Twitter will (Carol Vorderman-style) charge you extra.

“We’re doing this because we believe that by eliminating vowels, we’ll encourage a more efficient and “dense” form of communication,” the company said.

“In addition to our normal suite of Promoted Products for advertisers, we are now also offering a single character extension, expanding the length of a Tweet to 141 characters, for those moments when you need just one more character to finish your thought. The price of the extra character is based on a bidding system reflecting the popularity of the character you would like to add.”

The Daily Mail told us that the saga of the e-voting machines would end with them being modified into waste bins for electrical goods.

The Irish Sun tried to scare us with higher fuel bills, claiming the government is considering chimney meters to measure pollution. The €5 charge for each cubic ton of pollution was said to be “an attack that goes right to the hearth of Irish family life”. We see what they did there.

Dublin Airport is getting in on the Gathering act, according to the Irish Daily Star. Management intend to paint the main runway green so visitors will feel they are getting an extra-special Céad Míle Fáilte. The contract was awarded to Lirpa Loof (!) Paints in Cavan, which is headed up by Seamus O Amadán.

On a similar note, Virgin’s Richard Branson said he was “thrilled to announce the world’s first glass-bottomed plane”.

Guardian also had a new product launch today, announcing its ‘augmented reality’ specs to offer “immersive liberal insight”.

A lot of today’s papers seemed to fall for a Cosmopolitan ‘exclusive’ which revealed girl band The Saturdays are changing their name to The Fridays for the duration of Rochelle’s pregnancy.

This writer’s favourite of the day was probably Australian Geographic‘s report into drop bears – a large, arboreal, predatory marsupial related to the koala – which are less likely to attack Australians because of their accents and whiff of Vegemite.

Another good one from the New Statesman says it is “go back to the future” with a masthead makeover, featuring Comic Sans font.

Remember the UK Metro‘s ‘White Smoke’ conclave blog? Well, they’ve done it again with today’s blog of fake-but-funny April Fool’s gags. It features a Cheryl Cole-ified Angel of the North;

And YouLegend, a prediction of what will happen when YouTube finally gets people to watch the whole ad without pressing the ‘Skip’ option.

Back at home, Blacklion Pet Hospital revealed that after “years of painstaking work” by its R&D division, it had perfected a “groundbreaking procedure” to change a dog into a cat.

“It’s a brand new concept, where you bring in your dog, we exchange the dog DNA for cat DNA, cell by cell, and within a few days you will start to see the changes. It takes 2-3 weeks for the full change-over to happen, but it does work.”

The White House also got in on the act with a “special message” from the President:

(YouTube: whitehouse)

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