April Fools’ Day 2014: Samsung, HTC, Sony And Other Tech Companies Get Wacky With Pranks

 @ryanWneal
on April 01 2014 4:21 PM
April fools' day video
April Fools' Day brings out some of the most creative pranks and fake videos each year YouTube/Samuel Adams/Virgin America

People can be pretty gullible when it comes to things they read on TV, and no one seems to understand this more than tech companies. That’s why April Fool’s Day has become a sort of holiday for tech companies, with each company trying to show off their creativity, wit and sense of humor.

So if you come across things online that seem to be too good, or too ridiculous, to be true, they probably aren’t. Enough people were already fooled by the Huvr Board video in March, so here’s a guide to some of the pranks trolling the Internet on Tuesday.

1.       Google

When it comes to April Fool’s Day, Google always seems like it wants to be the kid getting all the attention at the party. No one takes this “holiday” more seriously than the Mountain View, Calif.-based company, which has been pulling pranks on users since the Google MentalPlex in 2000.

This year, Google started a day early by hiding 150 Pokémon in the Google Maps app for iOS and Android and telling users to “catch ‘em all” by April 2 for a chance to visit the Google headquarters.Google Japan followed with a new invention, the Magic Hand, for operating touchpad devices.

The Gmail team, which is also celebrating its 10-year anniversary, introduced a feature, “Gmail Shelfie” or shareable selfies that claim to solve the problem of being unable to share self-portraits.

“Gmail Shelfie is built on the idea that you shouldn’t be selfish with your selfie,” the Gmail team wrote on the official Google blog. “With just a few clicks, your mom your aunt, or that you have a crush on can set your Shelfie as their Gmail theme so they can enjoy checking, reading, and writing emails while seeing your friendly face in the background.”

Gmail users can also enable “Trending Shelfies” to change their Gmail backgrounds to selfies taken by various celebrities.

Google Plus introduced a feature called “AutoAwesome Photobombs,” which adds David Hasselhoff to pictures. AutoAwesome, a Google Plus feature that adds entertaining features to pictures, can now be used to jazz up resumes.

Google Chrome revealed a feature for Chrome on iOS and Android that will translate webpages into emoji, and announced a new input method designed to make it easier to cats to search the web.

Chromecast put out an advertisement targeted at squirrels, the Google Play team announced “Signature Edition,” and Google AdSense provided advertising metrics from other planets and moons.  The Google AdWords team also released a new “AdBirds” feature.

YouTube released a video that took credit for Internet memes over the past few years, such as Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake, and debuted what it claims will be the biggest viral trends of 2014.

Even some of Google’s recent acquisitions got in on the fun. Nest Labs teamed up with Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson to joke about new technology for controlling temperature on an airline, and Waze teased a new dating service, WazeDates, that allows “drivers to take the same hands-on approach to their personal life as they do to fighting traffic.”

2.       Twitter

Befitting its 140-character service, Twitter took a more minimal approach to April Fool’s Day than Google. On the official Twitter blog, the company announced the Twitter Helmet, a new bird-themed wearable device that allows users to tweet by making a “pecking” motion with their head. Twitter claimed that the Twitter Helmet will be available in September for $140. Various accessories such as a leather case inspired by falconry hoods, a feather-shaped Wi-Fi booster, and a microphone that looks like a wattle will also be available. Twitter even added a trademark symbol to provide some authenticity.

 

3.       Reddit

Reddit introduced a new hands-free way to browse through content called HEADdit, which stands for Hand Equivalent Action Detection. Instead of clicks, users can nod their head for an up-vote, frown for a down-vote, open links with a look of surprise and close links the shake of a head. Of course, there is even a cat mode.

4.       Sony

If it were real, Sony Power Food would be revolutionary. From hot dogs to cereal to energy bars, Sony claimed that food made with a new “voltaic enzyme” can power devices as well as be eaten. In addition to the YouTube video, Sony put out a pretty professional-looking press release for Power Food. So professional-looking that Sony added at the end that it was just a spoof intended for April Fool’s Day.

5.       SwiftKey

The company that produced predictive typing software for touchscreens brought its technology over to traditional keyboards.

6.       Samsung

Poking fun at recently espoused ideas by Google and Facebook to use airborne devices to transmit Wi-Fi to remote areas, Samsung introduced a network of pigeons strapped with routers to connect all of London with Internet. Samsung is calling it Fly-Fi and assured everyone that no animals were harmed. 

7.       HTC and Samsung

To finish of this list, Samsung and HTC had arguably the biggest fail of the day by producing nearly identical April Fool’s Day gags. Making fun of the wearable technology trend, both companies jokingly released plans for smartgloves: Samsung Fingers and HTC Gluuv. You almost feel bad for them.

What were your favorite April Fool’s Day pranks? Did you come across others that we didn’t list here? Let us know in the comments. 

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