Ah, April Fool’s Day. The first day of April, which to me feels like the beginning of Spring, and the day I don’t trust anything on the internet for the next 24 hours. Everything I saw this morning at work while scrolling through my Twitter feed was met with speculation—c’mon, the Amazon dash button? No way is that real! (Spoiler alert: apparently, it actually is.)
For those of you like me who are avoiding inevitably being fooled by a clever internet prank, here’s your definitive roundup and ranking of the biggest and best pranks from search engines circulating the web today!
One of Google’s pranks this year was the release of an additional version of their search engine at the URL “com.google”, where everything, from the layout, to the text on the SERP, is flipped backwards. While it’s pretty cool, and astounding what their team can code just for an April Fool’s day prank, all this backwards text gave me a headache, so I’m sticking this prank at the bottom of the list.
6. Google Void
Google launched their new account-deletion service that boasts of more mysterious, complex Google algorithms that can detect your unwanted and forgotten accounts to delete them, easy-peasy. All you have to do is take a short quiz, and Google will figure out who you are and what accounts you no longer need. While it’s a funny idea, and I do appreciate being mistaken for the very dashing Robert Garcia, to me, this April Fool’s Day prank fell kind of flat.
5. Google Announces Australia Is Moving
Let this be another friendly reminder to not believe everything you see on the internet, even if it is coming from someone wearing official YouTube merch with great teeth. For this prank, Google announced their recent study via their Google Australia blog that the Earth’s equator is slipping south at a rate of 25km per year, putting Australia in the Northern Hemisphere by 2055. We love the spoof video explaining their study, but could not find this change reflected on Google Maps, so we had to deduct points for follow-through.
4. Bing’s Cute Cloud
Okay, there is really nothing bad you can say about this April Fool’s prank by Bing. This morning, Bing launched their hub for all the cute animal videos and gifs you could ever ask for, all in one place. Even better, they included a link on their page to donate to The Humane Society, or to look into adopting a pet of your own. I don’t know about you, but I know how I’m spending the rest of my day today.
3. Gmail’s Smartbox
This prank was killing me, especially considering how smart appliances are already a very real thing (because obviously we all need the internet on our refrigerators.) In their April Fool’s Gmail blog article, Google announced their new ‘Smartbox’ mailbox that promises to fuse all the benefits of both electronic and physical mail into one smart device. We’re not gonna lie, those “spam filters” would be pretty sweet if this was real.
2. Google Maps’ Pac-Man
Just when I thought nothing could top Pokemon taking over Google Maps last year, this year they’ve launched their April Fool’s prank of being able to play Pac-Man on real streets, all over the world! Clearly, Google Maps is a video game nerd just like us, so for that they get the runner-up spot for best search engine prank this year.
1. Google’s Panda Product Launch
I don’t know if it’s Google poking fun at everyone who suffered at the hands of the Google Panda algorithm change, or the Apple-esque product launch gag that has me laughing harder at this. In this Google prank, Google announced the release of their cute, mobile, and shockproof product, Google Panda, versions 5 and 6. (But will it bend in your back pocket?)
After that slow-mo replay of Google Panda’s shockproof design and learning how it will always be there hugging you, no matter where you are, I have to rate Google Panda as my favorite prank this year.
Also, there’s a bonus appearance by Matt Cutts.