You’d think that organizing all of the world’s information would be a big enough workload to keep everyone at Google busy all of the time. But, apparently, the technology giant has decided that the world’s information includes April Fools’ jokes, and this year’s is a bumper crop.
There’s the closing of YouTube. It turns out that the Google-owned site was launched nearly eight years ago as a contest to find the best video, and, tonight at midnight, it will close down. For the next decade, the site will sift through zillions of videos, and then reopen in 2023 with just the winner.
While YouTube employees are sniffing around for their best video ever, Google Nose (Beta) will expand your search parameters -- and become a magnet for every smelling pun the Googlers could think of. “The new scentsation in search,” for instance, where you can “take a whiff” of the Google Aromabase, which has been assembled by Street Sense vehicles inhaling and indexing millions of atmospheric miles (wait until the European Union hears about that!), using Android Ambient Odor Collection software.
Of course, the smells -- including permanent marker, public library, hot tub/Jacuzzi, and our old favorite, wet dog -- can be shared and, once you find a smell, you can find out which other smells “people also sniffed.”
But why should olfactory senses have all the fun, when visuals could use a boost? In Google+, you open a photo in lightbox and click the “Add Emotion” button, so that Google can “plumb the emotional depths of everyone in the photo” and then add an appropriate face icon.
Gmail Blue, Levity Algorithm
Did you hear about Gmail Blue? It took Google “six years to develop the technology” to turn everything in Gmail blue -- characters, buttons, menus -- and bring email “into the 21st Century.” For Google, one downside of this joke video introducing Blue is that many viewers will never again be able to watch with a straight face another video from Google or anyone else announcing a breakthrough new technology that changes everything and took years to develop.
Of all this year’s jokes, the one that begs most for actual implementation is the Levity Algorithm, newly added to Google Apps. By clicking the new Levity option, one worker at a CPA group testifies in the video, boring meeting titles in Calendar (“logistic budget review,” “business roundtable discussion”), which produced half-empty meetings, immediately receive algorithmically-determined fun titles, like “taco party w/ Eileen” or “drinks w/ S. Colbert.” Now, the worker says, people are rescheduling their own birthday parties just to attend her renamed meetings. It can also automatically change email subject lines to something more playful, or add va-voom to slide presentations.
Treasure Maps, Cash on Hand
One imagines that, inside the Googletron, there’s an annual contest to see which department or country unit can bring down the house with their joke. A major contender this year is the new treasure map mode on Google Maps, an update of last year’s version, with the treasure map right-hand option leading to 2D hand-drawn maps and landmarks.
Some Google Analytics users will find visitors from the International Space Station, and Google Australia is offering Google SCHMICK to spruce up your house when seen in Street View. Google Fiber boxes are being installed on utility poles so users can walk up and patch into zigabit speeds, and there a Google Wallet Mobile ATM attachment for your Android device, so you can get cash right from your smarpthone.
Don’t have much cash on hand for your mobile ATM? No worry. In Googleville, a “self-driving, armored, hybrid vehicle” will be alerted and automatically dispatched to your location to resupply your ATM with cash if need be.