Every so often we like to partake in a prank or a Hoax and guess what, Google is no different. They love a prank and they love doing it to a mass audience as well (basically all those that have a computer). Starting in 2000 Google has been planning hoaxes ever since, with most of them being released on April fool’s day – who would have thought it.
Now I know that many of you are reading this and thinking, ‘only an idiot would have fallen for that’ and yes you may be right, but this is Google we are talking about, they are very convincing with this sort of stuff and have 11years of internet hoaxing experience. Here’s a look at some of the infamous pranks they have pulled off the past years…
2000 – MentalPlex
The start of it all, Google’s first April Fools’ Day hoax – it encouraged it’s users to create a mental image of what they wanted to see while staring at an animated gif. That accompanied with an FAQ page and a very convincing results page that had some of the following messages:
- Error 01: Brainwaves received in analog. Please re-think in digital.
- Error 001: Weak or no signal detected. Upgrade transmitter and retry.
- Error 008: Interference detected. Remove aluminium foil and remote control devices.
- Error 005: Searching on this topic is prohibited under international law.
- Error: Insufficient conviction. Please clap hands three times, while chanting “I believe” and try again.
- Error 8P: Unclear on whether your search is about money or monkeys. Please try again.
- Error 666: Multiple transmitters detected. Silence voices in your head and try again.
- Error CKR8: That information is protected under the National Security Act.
- Error 144: That information was lost with the Martian Lander. Please try again.
- Error 006: Query is unclear. Try again after removing hat, glasses and shoes.
- Error: MentalPlex(tm) has determined that this is not your final answer. Please try again.
Now we may look that and dismiss it very quickly but remember one thing, this was the 1st Google hoax and even though it was done on April Fools’ Day, it still would have lured many people in to thinking that this was all perfectly genuine.
Ok so in 2001, very cunningly and deliberately making sure they wouldn’t get caught on to they decided to forgo this year and not provide us with a ‘Google Hoax’… that or they were to busy doing more important things.
2002 – PigeonRank
This is where things start to get weird, and you start to worry about the guys at Google HQ creating these brilliant but wacky pranks. PigeonRank, pretty much is what it suggests – a bunch, a whole bunch of pigeons I should say, decide the worthiness and relativeness of your site matched to a user’s search query. And according to Google they were much better and faster than humans in coming to these conclusions. For good measure Google even provided us, the gullible public with data to further prove their theory and even patented PigeonRank as well.
Again keeping their cards close to the chest, Google decided not to do an April Fools’ this year.
2004 – Googlelunaplex
Any ideas as to what Google went with this year? That’s right, working in a research centre on the moon. They invited people to apply for a job in a centre which would have 35 engineers, 27,000 web servers, two massage therapists and a sushi chef formerly employed by pop group Hanson. This should have been obvious from the beginning that this was one of Google’s famous Hoax’s as everyone knows Hanson don’t like Sushi!
2005 – Google Gulp
Forget Lucozade, Gatorade and vitamin water – Google Gulp was the drink to have back in 2005, and it was said to increase productivity and intelligence and you had four great flavours to choose from. Well of course this was another hoax but it ran in line with the at the time invite only Gmail, and like Gmail this drink had its own stipulations of being obtained, by returning the bottle cap of a Google Gulp drink to a local shop… I heard the Glutamate Gulp was nicest but its just a shame they didn’t have 50 cent working for them.
2006 – Google Romance
Finally, Google had tricked people for so long on April Fools’ with their brilliant pranks and now their giving something back with Google Romance – Wrong! There was no finding your soulmate here just another error message at the end of the line explaining how Google have once again got you to fall for their by now annual hoax – You’d have thought people would have learnt by now!
2007 – Gmail Paper and TISP (Toilet Internet Service Provider)
Showing no signs of slowing down, Google decided to go with two pranks in 07’. Gmail Paper allowed Gmail users which was still invite only to request an email be sent to them in the post by the click of button and it was even a free service. This hoax only further increased the awareness of Gmail and helped it grow in popularity.
The TISP hoax came fully equipped with a press release, FAQ page, a custom error page and an instillation page with actual images of the router-modem sitting inconspicuously on top of the toilet as well. The way it worked was simple and was designed so that you could easily do it yourself, all you had to do was attach a sinker to the end of the wire and drop it into the toilet and flush. Well, sixty minutes later you could have been surfing the web.
2008 – Virgile and gDay
As if they had no remorse for all those they tricked with Googlelunaplex, along came Virgile, a partnership with Virgin which looked into the possibilities of setting up a settlement on Mars.
gDay was a new futuristic tool that could index pages 24hours before they had been created. Impossible right? Well not when you are Google or come to think of it not when it’s April Fools’ Day either!
2009 – CADIE
CADIE, Google’s new Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed – Intelligence Entity that took control of the web for the day. This actually came into place on the 31st March just before twelve so maybe this was a genuine update. No, just another prank for all the guys at Google to laugh about!
2010 – Animal Translator Beta
Something the world has been waiting for, finally we could now understand why the dog was barking or chasing after its own tail. A downloadable app for Android phones, it didn’t actually allow you to understand animals but once downloaded it did come with some amusing possible translations but no one knows how accurate those translations were.
2011 – Gmail Motion
Most recently in 2011 Google tried to trick its loyal followers into thinking that they had created Gmail Motion. This hoax consisted of Google convincing users that the use of body movements could be used to send an email by mimicking the actions of composing and sending an email, even with a complimentary YouTube video to go with it, all very amusing for the folk back at Google HQ.
So this year, make a mental note or even set a reminder if you really have to, that come April 1st – April Fool’s Day – when Google announces that they have come up with a way for you to teleport to wherever you want, even if they have a really convincing video on YouTube with a Google employee ‘showing’ you how simple it is, it is 99.9% more than likely a Google hoax.