Google’s 2012 April Fools’ Day Pranks

From Nintendo Maps to YouTube DVD collections

April 1 is typically one of the most annoying days on the Internet, as just about everyone feels the need to subject us to their not-so-clever “OMG I JUST PWN3D U!” pranks. But fortunately, Google is a lot cleverer than most typical Internet denizens and routinely comes up with some of the more amusing pranks every year around this time. In this slideshow we’ll guide you through Google’s top April Fools’ Day pranks of 2012, including Nintendo-style Maps, Morse Code Gmail and multitasking Chrome (relive Google’s 2011 April Fools’ collection.)
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8-Bit Google Maps for the original Nintendo
Google has worked hard over the years to make its Maps application the most detailed and up-to-date one anywhere on the Web. But what about users who haven’t bought a piece of electronics since getting a Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1988? Well for those users, Google created an 8-bit version of Maps that makes travelling throughout the world looks like playing “Zelda II.”

The complete YouTube on DVD
YouTube has brought us a lot of fond memories over the years, from Keyboard Cat to Rick Astley to Chris Crocker’s valiant defense of Britney Spears. And now, Google is offering you all your favorite YouTube moments on DVD. As in, all of them, sent to you in several large cardboard boxes. The best feature of this gag is the ability to snail-mail a cardboard thumbs-up symbol to the video creator’s home address.

Morse-Code Gmail
Yeah, touchscreen keyboards are still somewhat awkward to use. So why not switch to a system that gives you just two buttons to work with: A dot and a dash? Yes, Google is going really, really retro and bringing back Morse code for mobile Gmail. Siri is shaking in her boots, I bet.

Rotary Phone website optimization
Sure, smartphones are all the rage today and every business is working overtime to make sure that their website also delivers a top-notch mobile experience. But what about the .00001% of the population that still relies on rotary phones to make their calls? How will you reach this key market group of bitter misanthropic Luddite shut-ins? Google’s Mobile Ads team has the answer as it’s designed a program to “to help you prepare for the return of rotary,” whenever the heck that might happen.

Interplanetary Analytics
While most Google pranks utilize retro technology for laughs, the Analytics team has decided to launch us into the future with an Analytics system designed for interplanetary space travel. As a test example, Google asks you to imagine that you have “a chain of taco stands and [have] noticed many users visiting your website from the Mars outpost” meaning that you might want to “make a business case to begin expanding your business to serve Mars colonists.”

Self-driving racing cars
This certainly takes the human element out of your typical NASCAR race. The good news about this is that fiery race car crashes will no longer result in the tragic loss of human life. The bad news is that one of America’s most popular competitive events will be reduced to a driving version of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Progress has its drawbacks…

Google Fiber bar
For the uninitiated, Google has been building out a high-speed fiber network in Kansas City that will deliver average download speeds of 100Mbps to area homes within the next year. The company has also apparently been building the Ultimate Fitness Bar that will help you win bicycle races and other feats of athletic glory.

Google Street ‘Roo
Google’s Aussie team decided to chip into the April Fools’ Day fun by creating the Google Street Kangaroo to provide you with real-time traffic updates via its mounted head camera. Of course, the ‘roo’s live updates aren’t for those with motion sickness since its camera work is best described as somewhat bouncy. At any rate, who doesn’t love looking at a cute marsupial with an oversized camera attached to its head?

Google Chrome two-mouse multitasking
Multitasking is a staple of modern life, so much so that we often have difficulty jus… oooo, I just got a new high score in “Angry Birds Space!”… uh, as I was saying, multitasking is pretty important to the modern work environment. As such, Google has given Google Chrome the ability to handle not just one, but two mice! Wow! Now you can try to do your work while… ooooo, I just finished downloading the new “Game of Thrones” episode on iTunes!

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We want to hear from YOU!
Did Google tickle your funny bone again this year? Or do you long for the days of Flugelhorn Feline? Let us know in the comments!
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April 2012
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