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April Fools' Day tech roundup: GIF bombs, artificial partners and more

Sergey BrinVirgin GroupLarry PageHer (movie)Richard Branson

As always, the tech world is embracing April Fools' Day 2014 in full force, with countless gags from Google, Sony and many others in the space.

Here are some of the funniest tech-themed April Fools' Day jokes from around the Web:

Google Maps Pokemon Challenge: Google Maps jokingly challenged users to collect 150 Pokemon to land a job as Google's Pokemon Master. However, the navigation app really was updated to include a neat Pokemon mini-game in which users go around catching the cartoon characters.

Gmail Shelfies: Gmail took credit for starting the selfie trend for its April Fools' joke. It also let users upload selfies, use them as their Gmail background pictures and share them with others as well, coining the term "Shelfies" in the process.

Google Chrome emoji translations: Meanwhile, the mobile version of Google Chrome jumped on another popular tech trend: emojis. An update to the Apple iOS and Android versions of the Web browser will let users translate articles in English into ones where every other word substituted by one of the popular cartoon emoji icons.

YouTube 2014 viral trends: The Google-owned service joked it masterminds the trends we love, such as Gangnam Style and the Harlem Shake, and it jokingly unveiled its lineup of 2014 viral trends. This year, we have "Clocking," the "Glub Glub Water Dance," and "Kissing Dad." And for the first time ever, YouTube also encouraged users to start their own trends.

Sony Power Food: For its joke, Sony announced new Power Food, which is food that provides both you and your devices with energy. 

"Camera about to die while snapping photos at your daughter’s birthday party? Power up directly through the birthday cake -- Sony Power Food Cake Mix comes in three delicious flavors: Vanilla, Classic Chocolate and Red Velvet," the Japanese company's satirical news release said. 

Redbox gets colorful: The video rental service announced its distribution boxes will now change colors to match users' moods. Blue means you need cheering up, gold means you want an award-winning film and green means you want something with action. Unfortunately, the Redbox mood box isn't real, but users really can get $0.50 off rentals when they plug in a special April Fools' Day code.

Selfiebot by Orbotix: Orbotix is a company that creates little robotic toys, such as the Sphero, and for April Fools' it created the Selfiebot, a small little robot that flies around users snapping photos of their best moments. Sadly, the Selfiebot doesn't actually exist, but many probably wish it actually did.

Human-print clothes for cats: Cheezburger, the humorous online website, teamed up with clothing company Betabrand to announce human-print clothes for cats.

"Why is it there are plenty of cat-print clothes for humans, yet cat clothes with human-print are so scarce?" Cheezburger said in an email. "We wanted our feline friends to feel the love and that's why we've teamed up with online clothing community, Betabrand, on a new limited-edition cat apparel collection."

Check out the whole collection online.

Google+ #Hoffsome photobombs: Google+ updated its service with a neat little feature that automatically adds a David Hasselhoff to photos that users upload onto the social network.

"To get your own photobomb, upload a new self portrait or group photo with friends, and leave a little room for The Hoff," Google said in a blog. "He might just make a surprise appearance. :-)"

Uber, Toms shoes team up for shuberX: Uber and Toms shoes chose to partner up for their gag, announcing shuberX, a joke version of Uber's ridesharing service in which "drivers" show up with vehicles powered by their own legs, Flintstones-style.

"As Uber scales, we simply don't have the time to reinvent the wheel. So what if we un-invent it?" an Uber staffer says in the company's April Fools' Day video.

Twitter Helmet announced: Twitter joined in on the fun by announcing the Twitter Helmet, a wearable device that allows users to tweet by performing a "pecking" motion with their heads.

"Good Morning America" was able to get its hands on a prototype of the fictional device.

"You barely can tell that I'm tweeting right now," "GMA's" Sara Haines said while wearing the device and bobbing her head.

Reddit introduces Headdit: Reddit's gag was the new "Headdit," a fictional feature that lets users browse the popular website through facial gestures in front of their webcams. Users nod to scroll through links, nod vigorously to give upvotes, frown to give downvotes, appear shocked to open links and place their cats in front of their cameras to launch "cat mode."

Samsung's pigeon-powered Wi-Fi: In real life, Facebook is building drones and Google is making balloons to provide Internet to parts of the world that don't yet have it. As a joke, Samsung is solving the same problem... but with pigeons.

"If you think about that, it makes perfect sense. They're everywhere," a Samsung staffer says in a video for Fli-Fy, the fictional service.

"If you get pigeons to congregate, you get really strong signal," another staffers in the video says.

Nest and Virgin America team up: Richard Branson and Nest's Tony Fadell announced a partnership between the airline and the maker of the smart thermostat to let users control their personal climates while 35,000 feet in the air.

"Let's say you like to feel like you're sitting in a tropical paradise while flying to Newark, simply select 'Cancun Afternoon' and soak it all in," an engineer in the video says. "Or if you run a little hot, like me, and desire a cooler ride -- well, that's no problem. Just select 'Chicago Polar Vortex' and feel the chill."

Google Naps: This joke website wasn't made by Google, but it's still pretty funny. The site shows users ideal spots for napping, along with reasons why they should nap there. Users can also add their own napping area suggestions.

"Flat area, benches and grass. Plenty of security and people. Safe!" one spot in downtown Los Angeles reads.

More humor is found in a note on the website that is addressed to Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. In the note, the makers Google Naps plead that Page and Brin not get angry over Google Naps' use of their brand.

"Please don't take this to court, we only have a few hundred Euros in the bank," the note said. "And we also don't want to go to jail because we're too busy with other things at the moment. But whenever you are in the Netherlands you can have a nap on our couch if you want."

Fortunately, Google had a playful response for the napping website.

"As longtime supporters of napping, we're thrilled to see Google technology connecting the world's sleepiest citizens with places to catch some zzz's," a Google spokeswoman said.

GIF bombs: Giphy, a website where users can search for GIFs, created a GIF bombing tool for April Fools'. Users simply plug in the URL for a website into the GIF Bomb tool, and a new version of the site, complete with large rotating letters, is created.

The sites are plastered with all kinds of phrases, including "Can I YOLO on your swag?," "The party don't start till I twerk in," "relax, it's just the Internet" and many more. Try it out.

Couple app creates AI partner for singles: Piggybacking on the success of the movie "Her," mobile app Couple is telling users that it has created an artificial partner for singles who want to use the app, which is built for those who are in relationships.

"I am an artificially intelligent application that grows with you, understands you and shares life with you," says a website for the feature, which is called Alice.

Couple is letting users sign up for the beta of the feature, but most don't seem to realize it's an April Fools' Day prank -- already, more than 5,000 users have signed up. 

Kodak Picture Kiosk Drone: For its joke, Kodak announced the Kodak Picture Kiosk Drone. Users can contact the drone when they want to print out a picture immediately.

The fictional flying device can be reached through the Kodak app, by text or through the phone. But users should be careful when using the Kodak drone.

"Do not attempt to ride, avoid, or otherwise annoy the Picture Kiosk Drone," Kodak said in a blog. "Be sure to only use the Kodak Picture Kiosk Drone, another Drone may not be the Drone you are looking for."

But of course, the drone is not real at all.

***

We'll be updating this list throughout April Fools' Day with more gags from the tech industry as they emerge, so make sure to check back.

[Update 10:16 a.m. PDT April 1: This article was updated to include April Fools' Day gags from Google+, Uber, Twitter and Reddit.]

[Update 10:26 a.m. PDT April 1: This article was updated to include April Fools' Day gags from Samsung, Virgin America and Nest, and Google Naps.]

[Update 1:20 p.m. PDT April 1: This article was updated to include April Fools' Day gags from Giphy, Couple and Kodak. A response to Google Naps from Google was also added.]

ALSO:

Gmail Shelfies (shareable selfies) continue April Fools' jokes

Doughbot iPhone app guide users to nearest doughnut shops

Catch them all: Google kicks off April Fools' with Pokemon Challenge

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Sergey BrinVirgin GroupLarry PageHer (movie)Richard Branson
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