Tech : April Fools’ Day tech jokes trick Internet users
It’s no joke that technology is rapidly changing life as we know it. But last Friday, on the nation’s most celebrated day of trickery, technological innovation donned a whole new side of itself. Some of the world’s biggest names in technology and news have harnessed the abilities of technology to take advantage of the gullible population in formulating this year’s most viral and entertaining April Fools’ pranks, and to great effect.
The day’s best jester is inarguably technology giant Google.
The prank that has garnered the most attention is the Google Motion Beta. In its April 1 press release, the company stated, ‘The mouse and keyboard were invented before the Internet even existed … now you can control Gmail with your body.’
This nifty addendum to Google’s popular Gmail service claimed to use a computer’s camera to track user movements to open, reply to and write new emails. The video, created for authenticity in this prank, followed the Google format and was almost entirely believable.
Google, following its own ‘go big or go home’ precedent used a multifaceted approach to dupe the gullible. On its release page, http://mail.google.com/mail/help/motion.html, the company provided safety precaution guidelines, a short blurb on how this technology would soon be adapted for Google Docs and charts of appropriate gestures.
While this prank was executed well, it folded too soon. Google exposed itself with the ‘Try Gmail Motion’ button on the home page, which, when clicked, opened a message stating, ‘April Fools! Gmail Motion doesn’t actually exist. At least not yet…’
Another entertaining, but not as believable, April Fools’ prank is one played by the popular blog The Huffington Post. Seemingly prompted by disgust over The New York Times’ new paywall (which, unfortunately, isn’t a joke), the blog decided to implement a paywall of its own.
The post, under the name of Arianna Huffington herself, stated, ‘If you … are not an employee of The New York Times, you will continue to have full and free access to our news, information, opinion, and the rest of our rich offerings.’
The article goes on to reveal the constraints New York Times employees will face, referring to its most popular package where ‘Times employees can view the first six letters of each word at no charge (including slideshows of adorable kittens). After six letters, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber.’
The comment section following this post gleans with supportive remarks of the satirical blog post. Aranx, a ‘Huffpost Super User,’ replied with her statement, ‘Finally found a tasteful April Fools that makes a point and is actually funny not dumb.’ No joke.
Even coffee giant Starbucks hopped on the technology-inspired April Fools’ bandwagon. Playing with the heartstrings of every dedicated coffee-consumer out there, Starbucks jokingly announced its new smartphone app, Starbucks Mobile Pour.
Originally posted in the officially starbucks.com blog, the statements claimed that, thanks to ideas offered by consumers, seven of the biggest Starbucks-consuming cities will have two baristas on scooters per square mile to serve the tech-capable and caffeine-deprived inhabitants.
The blog post continued to state, ‘We’ve even made ordering easy with our Mobile Pour app for your smartphone. Simply download it, allow it to pinpoint your location, select your coffee order and keep walking. Your fresh, hot Starbucks brew will be in your hands before you can say abra-arabica.’
A few other good tech gags worth mentioning are Google’s job posting for an auto completer (requiring employees to guess what users need to search for before they finish typing it), the announcement of Atlassian’s new app Angry Nerds (a techie take on Angry Birds) and LinkedIn’s new version of friend recommendation (Albert Einstein would make for a great networking opportunity… if only he weren’t dead.)
If you’ve gotten through the past five days believing any of the aforementioned pranks, I apologize for bursting your bubble. But someone had to do it.
Jessica Smith is a junior information management and technology and television, radio and film dual major. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Man of faith: Thomas Wolfe uses role as dean of Hendricks, student affairs to connect with SU students, faculty, staff
Thomas Wolfe has many talents. He can ride a unicycle, craft a perfect tuna noodle casserole and bring a community together in the face of… Read more »
UPDATED: May 23, 2013 at 9:09 p.m. Six Syracuse University students appeared in court Thursday after being arrested during a fight outside of Faegan’s Cafe… Read more »
PHILADELPHIA — John Desko and Bill Tierney’s chess matches have a certain ebb and flow. One team tries to get up and down the field,… Read more »