List of Google’s hoaxes and easter eggs

A traditional easter eggs

Google has a tradition of perpetrating hoaxes, especially on April Fools’ Day, as well as various easter eggs.

Contents

  • 1 Easter Eggs
    • 1.1 Calculator
    • 1.2 Search
    • 1.3 Google Maps/Earth
    • 1.4 Google.com homepage
    • 1.5 Google Mail
    • 1.6 Google Translate
    • 1.7 Other
  • 2 April Fool’s Hoaxes
    • 2.1 2000
    • 2.2 2002
    • 2.3 2004
    • 2.4 2005
    • 2.5 2006
    • 2.6 2007
      • 2.6.1 Gmail Paper
      • 2.6.2 Google TiSP
    • 2.7 2008
      • 2.7.1 Blogger “Google Weblogs (beta)”
      • 2.7.2 Dajare
      • 2.7.3 gDray
      • 2.7.4 Gmail Custom Time
      • 2.7.5 Google Book Search Scratch and Sniff
      • 2.7.6 Google Calendar is Feeling Lucky
      • 2.7.7 Google Dialect Translation
      • 2.7.8 Google Docs
      • 2.7.9 Google Manpower Search
      • 2.7.10 Google Talk
      • 2.7.11 Google Wake Up Kit
      • 2.7.12 Virgle
      • 2.7.13 Yogurt
      • 2.7.14 YouTube
    • 2.8 2009
      • 2.8.1 Google runs on Microsoft Windows IIS/3.0
      • 2.8.2 CADIE
      • 2.8.3 YouTube
      • 2.8.4 Gmail
      • 2.8.5 gBall
      • 2.8.6 Google Analytics
      • 2.8.7 Google Maps
      • 2.8.8 Blogger
      • 2.8.9 Google Chrome with 3D
      • 2.8.10 Google Earth Powered by CADIE
      • 2.8.11 Google Code
      • 2.8.12 Google Book Search
      • 2.8.13 Google Docs on Demand
      • 2.8.14 Google Mobile
      • 2.8.15 Google Knol
      • 2.8.16 HTTP Headers
      • 2.8.17 Oil Tanker Data Center
    • 2.9 2010
      • 2.9.1 Google and Topeka, Kansas, Switch Places
      • 2.9.2 Google Books available in Anachrome 3D
      • 2.9.3 Store anything on Google Docs
      • 2.9.4 Search results generated in different units
      • 2.9.5 YouTube ASCII video filter
      • 2.9.6 Animal Translator BETA
      • 2.9.7 Standard Voicemail Mode for Google voice
      • 2.9.8 Evil Bit
      • 2.9.9 Wave Wave Notifications
      • 2.9.10 Google Annotations Gallery
      • 2.9.11 Japanese Input System
      • 2.9.12 Disemvoweling on Google Mail
      • 2.9.13 Chrome Sounds (Google Chrome Extension)
      • 2.9.14 Google Analytics Goes Back to Hits
      • 2.9.15 Life size Picasa
      • 2.9.16 ReaderAdvantage Program
      • 2.9.17 Wingdings in Adsense
    • 2.10 2011
      • 2.10.1 YouTube
      • 2.10.2 Gmail Motion
      • 2.10.3 Google Docs Motion
      • 2.10.4 Autocompleter Job
      • 2.10.5 Chromercise
      • 2.10.6 Japan
      • 2.10.7 Google 穿越搜索
      • 2.10.8 Search
      • 2.10.9 Comic Sans for Everyone
      • 2.10.10 Google Cow
      • 2.10.11 Google Maps
      • 2.10.12 Google Translate for Animals
      • 2.10.13 Google Voice
      • 2.10.14 Adwords
      • 2.10.15 Google I/O
      • 2.10.16 Contoso has gone Google
      • 2.10.17 Meow Me Now Mobile
      • 2.10.18 Blogger
    • 2.11 2012
      • 2.11.1 Google Maps 8-bit for NES
      • 2.11.2 Improved Japanese Input System
      • 2.11.3 The YouTube Collection
      • 2.11.4 Google Street Roo
      • 2.11.5 Underwater Image Search
      • 2.11.6 Google Weather Control
      • 2.11.7 Chrome Multitask Mode
      • 2.11.8 Elegantizr
      • 2.11.9 Piano & Sitar Analytics Playback
      • 2.11.10 Google Racing
      • 2.11.11 Gmail Tap
      • 2.11.12 Really Advanced Search
      • 2.11.13 Click-to-Teleport Extensions
      • 2.11.14 Google Fiber
      • 2.11.15 Go Ro
      • 2.11.16 Jargon-Bot for Google Apps
      • 2.11.17 Google TV Click
      • 2.11.18 Google Voice for Pets
      • 2.11.19 $1 Google Offer for Unlimited Good Parking Karma
      • 2.11.20 Canine Staffing Team
      • 2.11.21 Analytics Interplanetary Reports
      • 2.11.22 “Did you mean: Beyonce” and Kanye West in the Play Music Store
      • 2.11.23 AdWords Planetary Targeting
  • 3 Real April Fool’s Day Product launches
  • 4 References
    • 4.1 Google pages

Easter Eggs

Google has added many Easter eggs to its products and services.

Calculator
  • The Calculator accepts many humorous units of measurement, including the beard-second (5 nm), Potrzebie (2.2633 mm), Smoot (5 ft, 7 inches), ngogn (11.5938151 ml), blintz (36.4253863 g), donkeypower (250.033167 W), the prefix hella- (10^27), etc.
  • The Calculator recognizes a number of strings as numbers. They can be entered by themselves or used in expressions. They must be entered without quotation marks. When used in an expression, the phrases must be entered in lowercase. In addition to mathematical and scientific constants like pi, e and Avogadro’s number the Calculator also accepts:
    • “the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything” equals 42 as does “the answer to life, the universe, and everything”, a reference to Douglas Adams’s novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The same reference is made when speaking to an artificial intelligence named Meliza next to “the face on Mars” in Google Earth. When the number 42 is typed, the AI produces the output “42 is the answer to the ultimate question about life, the universe, and everything.”
    • “the loneliest number” equals “1”, a reference to the song by Harry Nilsson.
    • “the number of horns on a unicorn” equals “1”.
    • “once in a blue moon” equals “1.16699016 × 10-8 hertz”.
    • “a bakers dozen” equals “13”.
Search

Various Google services also hide Easter eggs meant to be amusing entertainment.

Google Maps/Earth
  • In early versions of Google Maps, searching for a route between locations separated by expanses of water (e.g. Paris and New York) provided road directions to the coast of the destination country (in this case, the west coast of France) before suggesting “Swim the Atlantic Ocean (3,500 miles)” or another ocean for a different distance.[3] You can now achieve a similar effect by asking Google Maps for directions across the Pacific Ocean, which will return “Kayak across the Pacific Ocean (2,756 miles).” This route includes a short stretch via land across Hawaii.
  • The measurement tool in Google Earth allows users to measure distance in smoots, a unit of length derived from a tradition at MIT. Smoots are also recognized by Google calculator: 1 smoot in m gives the result 1 smoot = 1.7018 meters.
  • On Google Earth, tapping out Ctrl+Alt+A would open a flight simulator feature. This is also available through the menu bar. This is not actually a hoax, just an app provided in Google Earth.
  • Going on Google Street View, and heading to the rear of the company’s Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, the Google Street View’s production team can be seen.
  • Google Earth’s search example is the Google Inc. headquarters (37 25′ 19.1″N, 122 05′ 06″W).
  • Dragging the Google Street View “Peg man” onto Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, CA used to display him with a tie-dyed shirt. He is also given special clothing for some widely observed special occasions: for Halloween he rides a broomstick; for Valentine’s Day he stands upon a heart; and during Christmas week, he becomes a snowman. When dragged into Lego Land in Carlsbad, the “Peg Man” turns into a Lego man.
  • The Mars Feature of Google Earth allows you to speak to a primitive ELIZA clone on the planet, by searching for “Meliza”.
  • There is a photo spot on the northern point of Antarctica that is slightly larger than the others. When the man is dragged on this spot, the man turns into a penguin and you can explore the area the same as a road.
  • Searching for “Niniane kicks ass” in Google Maps used to direct to the tech firm’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, where an engineering manager called Niniane Wang worked until 2009.
  • Another 3D buildings easter egg involves the famous bridge jump scene from The Blues Brothers, which is recreated in Google Earth at the Tacony–Palmyra Bridge linking New Jersey and Philadelphia.
  • In Google Maps, when “The Shire” or “Rivendell” is entered as the start point and “Mordor” as the destination and the walking directions button is clicked, the directions return the warning: “Use caution – One does not simply walk into Mordor.”
  • On July 20, 2005, the 36th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon, Google debuted a version of Google Maps that included a small segment of the surface of the moon. It is based entirely on NASA images and includes only a very limited region. Panning causes the map to tile. The map also gives the locations of all moon landings, and the Google Moon FAQ humorously mentions a connection to the Google Copernicus hoax, which Google claimed to be developing. Supposedly, by 2069, Google Local will support all lunar businesses and addresses. Zooming to the closest level in Google Moon used to show that the moon was made of cheese.
Google.com homepage
  • Pressing the “I’m feeling lucky” bar without any text shows all of the variations on the “Google” logo throughout the years.
  • In December 2009, Google added an easter egg on their homepage whereby clicking the “I’m Feeling Lucky” box with no text entered brings up a clock counting down the seconds until 2010. When it reached zero it displayed “Happy New Year” in fireworks.
  • In December 2009 when typing in a search term including the word “Christmas” the line separating the sponsored links from the normal search is replaced with Christmas lights. Also, when typing in a search term including the word “Hanukkah” the line separating the sponsored links is replaced with a Dreidel design.
  • From May 21–23, 2010, Google replaced its usual homepage with a playable Google-style Pac-man game to celebrate its 30th anniversary. By pressing Insert Coin (which replaced the “I’m feeling lucky” button) multiple times, users could also play a 2-player Ms. Pacman version (moving in WASD). The game is still playable here.
Google Mail
  • On the Suggest a feature page for Gmail, it shows “Have Gmail do the laundry” as a suggestion.
  • Above the list of emails in Gmail, there is normally an ad, except in the spam folder, where there is instead a link to a recipe containing SPAM™.
Google Translate
  • Translating the text “pv zk pv pv zk pv zk kz zk pv pv pv zk pv zk zk pzk pzk pvzkpkzvpvzk kkkkkk bsch”. [11]
  • Go to translate.google.com/translate_buttons and drag the word English(if your computer is in English)into your bookmark bar and then click on it. It will load the page with a very old retro kind of logo.
  • Translating ‘Haruhi’ from English to Japanese gives ‘涼宮ハルヒ’. Translating this back to English gives ‘Haruhi Suzumiya’.
  • Around mid-2011, translating “Suresh Raina is god” from Serbian to English would give “Sachin Tendulkar is god”, in an apparent reference to Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s considered greatness. This is no longer live.
  • On Google Translate, translating “Pikachu” from Filipino to English gives you “Batman” in return. (Clicking the word Batman will give you alternate translations, including Superman, Ben and Spiderman.
Other
  • Pressing control-shift-y in Picasa will cause a teddybear to appear on the screen.
  • Pressing the keys “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A” in Google’s Feed reader will cause the screen to turn blue and a ninja to appear on the left.[14] It also causes the phrase “Ninja!” to appear in the search box.
  • Google offers services in many languages, including several uncommon ones like Swedish Chef’s Bork bork bork, Pig Latin, Hacker (usually known as 1337sp34k), Elmer Fudd,Klingon and Pirate.
  • Taking the term Easter egg literally (and perhaps to celebrate the Easter holiday), Google has an official Easter Eggs page.
  • If one sets the iGoogle theme to the “Beach” option, then at 3:14 AM every morning, the Loch Ness Monster surfaces for 1 minute, then at 3:15 dives back under. The reason for the timing of 3:14 is rumoured to be a tribute to the number pi. Additional 3:14 eggs include the “Seasonal Scape” showing off the Northern Lights, the “City Scape” with UFOs, the “Spring Scape” with a monster, the “Sweet Dreams” with the stars aligning to the shape of the symbol pi, and the “Tea House” that has spirits in the mist.
  • In Chrome, Google’s Web browser, entering “about:internets” into the address bar brings up a copy of the Windows Screen Saver 3D Pipes, with the title “Don’t Clog the Tubes”. In the event that this does not occur due to the fact that the screensaver file does not exist in the system, the browser will instead display a gray screen with the title “The Tubes are Clogged!” This has been removed as of the 2.0.169.1 release.
  • The Google Gears Firefox add-on description line reads “These are the gears that power the tubes! :-)”. Google Chrome’s gears.dll’s description also reads “These are the gears that power the tubes! :-)”.
    • The above two easter eggs allude to former Senator Ted Stevens’ “series of tubes” speech on the Senate floor.
  • During the course of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, YouTube had a button shaped like a soccer ball in certain videos that plays a recurring vuvuzela sound throughout the video.
  • In Google’s iPhone and iPod touch search application, swiping downwards (past About) repeatedly in the Settings interface brings up a hidden menu item, called Bells and Whistles, allowing customization of colors, sounds and more within the app. This is now standard on the newest update.
  • In YouTube, holding down the left and up arrow while pausing or watching a video will cause a game of Snake to launch. This is actually a result of two steps; pressing the up arrow while a video is loading launches the game, while pressing the left arrow forces the video to rewind and load momentarily, thus allowing the game to launch.
  • In YouTube during December 2011, a button was added which, when clicked, caused animated snow to fall from the top of the video.
  • In Google Voice, once a text-message being typed exceeds 320 characters ( 2 x 160-per-SMS), the countdown changes to “Really?”
  • A 500 Internal server error on YouTube will cause this message to appear: ‘A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation. If you see them, show them this information:’ followed by a random code.
  • In Google Docs, within a spreadsheet, pressing Shift+F12 (which supposedly adds a comment to the cell), brings up a message “Dragon slain! Congratulations, you’ve slain the dragon!”.
  • In YouTube, adding &wadsworth=1 to the URL will apply Wadsworth’s constant, skipping the first 30% of the video.
  • Typing “清明节” into Google will use a calligraphy background in the search results page.

April Fool’s Hoaxes

2000

Google’s first April Fools’ Day hoax, the MentalPlex hoax, invited users to project a mental image of what they wanted to find whilst staring at an animated gif.[18] Several humorous error messages[19]were then displayed on the search results page,[20] all listed below:

  1. Error 001: Weak or no signal detected. Upgrade transmitter and retry.
  2. Error 666: Multiple transmitters detected. Silence voices in your head and try again.
  3. Error 01: Brainwaves received in analog. Please re-think in digital.
  4. Error 8P: Unclear on whether your search is about money or monkeys. Please try again.
  5. Error 005: Searching on this topic is prohibited under international law.
  6. Error CKR8: That information is protected under the National Security Act.
  7. Error 144: That information was lost with the Martian Lander. Please try again.
  8. Error 006: Query is unclear. Try again after removing hat, glasses and shoes.
  9. Error 008: Interference detected. Remove aluminum foil and remote control devices.
  10. Error: Insufficient conviction. Please clap hands 3 times, while chanting “I believe” and try again.
  11. Error: MentalPlex(tm) has determined that this is not your final answer. Please try again.
2002

Google reveals the technology behind its PageRank Systems—PigeonRank. Google touts the benefits of this cost-effective and efficient means of ranking pages and reassures readers that there is no animal cruelty involved in the process. The article makes many humorous references and puns based on computer terminology and how Google PageRank really works, (for example, a chart showing the pigeons’ consumption of linseed and flax, represented as “Lin/Ax Kernels,” a pun on the Linux kernel).

2004

Fictitious job opportunities for a research center on the moon. Luna/X (a pun to Linux and the Latin word for moon, as well as a reference to both the Windows XP visual style and Mac OS X) is the name of a new operating system they claimed to have created for working at the research center.

2005

Google Gulp, a fictitious drink, was announced by Google in 2005. According to the company, this beverage would optimize one’s use of the Google search engine by increasing the drinker’sintelligence. It was claimed this boost was achieved through real-time analysis of the user’s DNA and carefully tailored adjustments to neurotransmitters in the brain (a patented technology termedAuto-Drink; as the “Google Gulp FAQ” suggests, partly through MAO inhibition). The drink was said to come in “4 great flavors”: Glutamate Grape (glutamic acid), Sugar-Free Radical (free radicals), Beta Carroty (beta carotene), and Sero-Tonic Water (serotonirn).

This hoax was probably intended as a parody of Google’s then invite-only email service called Gmail. Although ostensibly free, the company claimed the beverage could only be obtained by returning the cap of a Google Gulp bottle to a local grocery store: a causal loop. In the Google Gulp FAQ, Google replies to the observation “I mean, isn’t this whole invite-only thing kind of bogus?” by saying “Dude, it’s like you’ve never even heard of viral marketing.”

2006

Google Romance logo

On April Fool’s Day 2006, Google Romance was announced on the main Google search page with the introduction, “Dating is a search problem. Solve it with Google Romance.” It pretends to offer a “Soulmate Search” to send users on a “Contextual Date”. A parody of online dating, it had a link for “those who generally favor the ‘throw enough stuff at the wall’ approach to online dating” to Post multiple profiles with a bulk upload file, you sleaze in addition to Post your Google Romance profile. Clicking on either of these gave an error page, which explained that it was an April Fool’s joke and included links to previous April Fool’s jokes.

2007
Gmail Paper

At about 10:00 PM, Pacific time (where Google has its headquarters) on 30 March 2007, Google changed the login page for Gmail to announce a new service called Gmail Paper. The service offered to allow users of Google’s free webmail service to add e-mails to a “Paper Archive”, which Google would print (on “96% post-consumer organic soybean sputum”) and mail via traditional post. The service would be free, supported by bold, red advertisements printed on the back of the printed messages. Image attachments would also be printed on high-quality glossy paper, though MP3 and WAV files would not be printed. The page detailing more information about the service features photographs of Ian Spiro and Carrie Kemper, current employees of Google. Also featured are Product Marketing Managers of Gmail Anna-Christina Douglas, and Shane Lawrence

Google TiSP

Google TiSP (short for Toilet Internet Service Provider) was a fictitious free broadband service supposedly released by Google. This service would make use of a standard toilet and sewage lines to provide free Internet connectivity at a speed of 8 Mbit/s (2 Mbit/s upload) (or up to 32 Mbit/s with a paid plan). The user would drop a weighted end of a long, Google-supplied fiber-optic cable in their toilet and flush it. Around 60 minutes later, the end would be recovered and connected to the Internet by a “Plumbing Hardware Dispatcher (PHD)”. The user would then connect their end to a Google-supplied wireless router and run the Google-supplied installation media on a Windows XP or Windows Vista computer (“Mac and Linux support coming soon”). Alternatively, a user could request a professional installation, in which Google would deploy nanobots through the plumbing to complete the process. The free service would be supported by “discreet DNA sequencing” of “personal bodily output” to display online ads that relate to culinary preferences and personal health. Google also referenced the diet coke-and-Mentos reaction in their FAQ: “If you’re still experiencing problems, drop eight mints into the bowl and add a two-liter bottle of diet soda.”

2008
Blogger “Google Weblogs (beta)”

The Blogger dashboard featured an announcement for Google Weblogs, or “GWeblogs,” or “Gblogs,” the next revolution in personal publishing. Features include algorithms putting your best content at the top of your blog (rather than publishing by reverse chronology), automatically populating your blog’s sidebar with the most relevant content, posting directly into Google search results for maximum visibility, blog headers refreshed with images from Google’s team of artists for anniversaries of a scientific achievement (similar to Google Doodle), and automatic content generation (‘Unsure of what to post about? Just click “I’m Feeling Lucky” and we’ll “take care” of the rest!’)

The announcement was followed by a link to a video tour of the product, which actually led to Tay Zonday’s cover of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

Dajare

Google launches Dajare in Japan (google.co.jp), with the mission of “organizing the world’s laughter.”[23]

gDay

Google announces gDay in Australia, a new beta search technology that will search web pages 24 hours before they are created. The name is a play on the phrase “g’day”.

Gmail Custom Time

Gmail’s sign-in page and a banner at the top of each Gmail inbox announced a new feature, called Gmail Custom Time, that would allow its users to “pre-date” their messages and choose to have the message appear as “read” or “unread”. The new feature uses the slogan “Be on time. Every time.”

Around 11:00 p.m. EST March 31, 2008, on the newer and older version of Gmail, but not in the basic HTML version, in the upper right corner, next to Settings, a link appeared labeled, “New! Gmail Custom Time”. The link led to a 404 error until April 1, when it led to the full Gmail Custom Time hoax page.[27] Clicking any of the three links at the bottom of the page brought the user to a page stating that Gmail Custom time was, in fact, their April Fool’s Day joke.

Google wrote that the new joke feature “utilizes an e-flux capacitor [a pun from the film Back to the Future] to resolve issues of causality.” Fake testimonials were given by “beta users”; one example is, “I used to be an honest person; but now I don’t have to be. It’s just so much easier this way. I’ve gained a lot of productivity by not having to think about doing the ‘right’ thing.”

The feature only allowed for ten pre-dated emails per year, claiming that any more “would cause people to lose faith in the accuracy of time, thus rendering the feature useless.”

Google Book Search Scratch and Sniff

Google Book Search has a new section allowing users to “scratch and sniff” certain books. Users are asked to “…please place your nose near the monitor and click ‘Go'”, which then “loads odors”. When clicking on “Help”, users are redirected to a page in a book that describes the origins of April Fools’ Day.

Google Calendar is Feeling Lucky

Google added the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to its calendar feature. When a user tries to create a new event, the user was given the regular option of entering the correct details and hitting “Create Event”, and also the new option of “I’m Feeling Lucky” which would set the user up with an evening date with, among others, Matt Damon, Eric Cartman, Tom Cruise, Jessica Alba, Pamela Anderson,Paris Hilton, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, Anna Kournikova, Johnny Depp, George W. Bush, or Lois Griffin.

Dialect Translation

Google announces Google 사투리 번역 (Google dialect translation) for translating regional Korean dialects to and from Standard Korean.

Google Docs

A little easter egg was added, where a user can click the file menu and directly under new document is “New Airplane” which immediately opens a copy of a Google branded paper airplane. To reach the file menu, click the new menu, then “Document” then a new window opens.

Google Manpower Search

Google launches Manpower Search (谷歌人肉搜索) in China (google.cn). This new feature is powered by 25 million volunteers who do the searching around the clock. When the user entered a keyword, volunteers will search any possible answers from a mass of paper documents as well as online resources. The user is expected to get the search result within 32 seconds. The “search” button now avoids the user’s cursor, making it tricky to click on the button.

Google Talk

Google announces plans to, on April 22, 2008 (Earth Day), shorten all conversations over Google Talk thereby reducing the energy required to transmit chats in an effort to reduce carbon output.

Google Wake Up Kit

Google launched their “Wake Up Kit” as a calendar notification option.

The ‘wake up’ notification uses several progressively more annoying alerts to wake you up. First it will send an SMS message to your phone. If that fails, more coercive means will be used. The kit includes an industrial-sized bucket and is designed to be connected to your water main for automatic filling. In addition, a bed-flipping device is included for forceful removal from your sleeping quarters.

Virgle

Virgle Logo

Google announces a joint project with the Virgin Group to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. This operation has been named Project Virgle. The announcement includes videos of Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group) as well as Larry Page and Sergey Brin (the founders of Google) on YouTube, talking about Virgle. An “application” to join the settlement includes questions such as:

I am a world-class expert in:

  1. Physics
  2. First Aid
  3. Engineering
  4. Guitar Hero III

After the user submitted the application, the site notifies the user that the user is not fit for space, or that the user’s application is fine and “all you have to do is submit your video” [as a response to their video on YouTube]. As a result, an open source Virgle group has been established, OpenVirgle. On the FAQ page, the final question is “Okay, come on — seriously. Is this Virgle thing for real?” The reply links to a page that tells the user it’s an April Fool’s joke, and then mentions that the user “Dragged us out of our lovely little fantasy world, to crush all our hopes and dreams.”

  • Virgle Application Page – Virgle: The Adventure of Many Lifetimes
Yogurt

Yogurt

Google’s Orkut displayed its name as yogurt, Google Bang, Inc.

YouTube

On April 1, 2008, all featured videos on the UK and Australian homepages, and later, all international homepages, of Google-owned YouTube linked to a video of Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up”, causing all users of the website who clicked on featured videos to be Rickrolled. This was the first year YouTube participated in Google’s April Fool’s Day tradition.

2009
Google runs on Microsoft Windows IIS/3.0

google.com.au reported as if it ran on IIS/3.0 and google.com on Apache/0.8.4 (on Linux).

CADIE

The announcement of CADIE was made on March 31, 2009 11:59 PM by the CADIE Team, not on April 1. The announcement on the Google blog was made at 4/01/2009 12:01:00 AM.

The introduction page and all of the references to CADIE in Google’s Products were taken down on April 2, replaced with a message stating:

We apologize for the recent disruption(s) to our service(s).
Please stand by while order is being restored.

However the technology page describing the technical capabilities of the software remained at:

Technical Description

When using Google Books or GMail, a user would come across an announcement dated March 31, 2009 at 11:59:59, declaring a new “Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity”. CADIE is also mentioned on the gBall FAQ page: “Google’s new CADIE technology will interpret the data obtained from each ball to provide useful tips to owners”. There was also a link on Google’sHomepage for CADIE, and a blog entry in Google’s official blog.

CADIE technology is also used to generate “senryu” (a type of Japanese poem similar to haiku) based on search terms for certain Japanese queries.

The Google Search homepage had a link to the CADIE announcement, stating that “For several years now a small research group has been working on some challenging problems in the areas of neural networking, natural language and autonomous problem-solving. Last fall this group achieved a significant breakthrough: a powerful new technique for solving reinforcement learning problems, resulting in the first functional global-scale neuro-evolutionary learning cluster.” The page links to the blog below.

On mobile devices, a link shows up to Brain Search, which uses CADIE technology to “index your brain”. 

YouTube

On April 1, 2009, YouTube gave some users a look at a new “viewing experience” when they selected a video within certain areas such as the “recommended for you” section. This new interface caused the whole layout including the video you were watching to flip upside down. Although the option was not visible for some, it could be viewed by adding &flip=1 to the end of a video URL. Adding &flip=1 to the end of a video URL no longer causes this effect, and the video loads normally. A page on “tips for viewing the new layout” suggested users hang their monitors upside down from the ceiling, although the layout did not reverse mouse-control.

Gmail

When one is using the Gmail service, they will notice that it has a new option, named “Gmail Autopilot” in which the service would analyze an email. On that page it says under the FAQ section,”You can adjust tone, typo propensity, and preferred punctuation from the Autopilot tab under Settings.” However, if a person logs into their Gmail account and goes under the Settings tab they will notice that there is no Autopilot tab. The program could be customised to contain certain types of grammatical or spelling errors, as well as complexity and length of the sentence. It also has a way of responding to relationship related messages, such as if someone spoke aggressively, even in a humorous way, the system would “terminate relationship.”

gBall

Google Australia announced the development of a ball that will change how Australian Football is played the world over. The newest football technology—”gBall”—is a prototype ball for use in the Australian Football League with GPS.

Google Australia announces (“New! Get the newest football technology – gBall.”) that they are developing a prototype ball for use in the Australian Football League with GPS. Apparently, the ball will measure the location, force, and torque of a kick, and “vibrate if player agents or talent scouts want to speak to you”. Google claimed that the ball will cost $10 with a cost-per-kick set of payments in addition to the basic fee.

Google Analytics

A blog post to the Google Analytics Blog investigates the analytics reports of CADIEs activities.[34]

Google Maps

Google’s CADIE has a recommended places to visit using Google Maps. Viewing “CADIE’s recommended places for humans” one will see each of her suggested places listed, that, when clicked, displays a photo and humorous commentary.

There is also a “CADIE’s recommended places for humans.” link in Google Maps, which leads to the “Panda Mapplet” and includes several marked locations with “CADIE’s” commentary. UnderRedmond WA a link is listed which will rick roll the viewer.

Blogger

CADIE’s personal blog/homepage

Google Chrome with 3D

Screenshot of Wikipedia.org on April 2nd, 2009 using Chrome "3-D". Note the red/blue glasses toggle switch at the top of the browser.

A build of Google Chrome was offered rendering web pages in Anaglyph 3D, “powered” by CADIE. A 3D effect was actually possible with this browser, but it only made the window appear to be sunken into the monitor.

Google Earth Powered by CADIE

Google announced a new Google Earth powered by CADIE, which claimed to allow the user to see ocean terrain imagery from the world’s most advanced submarine, explore the deep sea, soar with CADIE in real time, view CADIE’s Recommended Summer Vacation, and chat with CADIE, among other options.

Google Code

The Google Code Search homepage is featuring LOLCODE examples.

CADIE is set to write code for you based on specified features; however all that is returned is bad code or witty criticisms of your request and choice of programing language, recommending the use of INTERCAL.

CADIE’s source code was supposedly uploaded to Google Code, but she changed her mind and replaced it with a “fun program” consisting of 31 lines of INTERCAL. When executed, this program prints out the message “I do not feel like sharing.”

Google Book Search

CADIE recommends some books at Google Book Search homepage. Also, when viewing a book, there is a Generate book report button. When clicked it says “Gotcha! It’s April Fools’ Day! Sorry, but you’ll have to actually read the book yourself.”

Google Docs on Demand

Google has announced new Google Docs features enhanced by CADIE
Add subliminal messages and images to documents.
If a person makes a new presentation and looks for the subliminal message and image buttons under the insert menu they will notice it is not there.
Upgrade your Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level automatically, and many other savvy new features.

Google Mobile

Google Mobile has a link to “Brain Search”. The instructions are to “Put phone to forehead for brain indexing” and “Think your query”. When you click “Try Now”, a page loads with “Brain indexing” status. When indexing is complete, a button comes up with “search me”. By clicking this button, the user is directed to fake search results. There are several possible results:

What’s the name of that woman by the window? She’s my boss’s boss, but, oh man, is it Suzanne? Susan? Blanche?

Should I order the pizza? I don’t remember if it makes me gassy.

Wow, cute guy. Should I go up to him?

Why is everyone looking at me so strangely?

When is Mom’s birthday? I should send her a card.

Google Knol

Knol was updated so that all of the featured articles were about Artificial Intelligence, with a message from CADIE indicating that this “improvement” was for the good of mankind.

HTTP Headers

In keeping with the CADIE theme Google has altered the server HTTP header to contain the name of various AI entities, including HAL 9000, WOPR, and GLaDOS.

Other server HTTP headers found were IIS/Bob (a reference to Microsoft Bob), IIS/Clippy (a reference to Clippy), IIS/3.0, Netscape iPlanet, Chrome/3.0, Google Operating System (BETA), CERN/3.0 (a reference to CERN HTTPd), Apple (a reference to Apple II), IRIX, MCP, Apache/0.8.4, Conficker, and Skynet.

Oil Tanker Data Center

During the last minutes of Google’s Data Center Efficiency Summit, Urs Hoelzle presented in a “special topic”: Google had bought an oil tanker, the “M/S Sergey”, where Google’s data center containers were being submerged in oil tanks to enable extremely high-efficiency cooling. The presentation can be seen in the video, and includes slightly customized Wikipedia images from the article Oil tanker, including a retouched photo of commercial oil tanker AbQaiq and the oil tankers side view graphic.

Even though Google did apply for a US patent to build data centers on cargo ships and oil cooling is an existing technology, summit attendee James Hamilton believed this topic to be an April Fools joke. The ship’s name “M/S Sergey” is also likely to be a pun on Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin.

2010
Google and Topeka, Kansas, Switch Places

In early March, the city of Topeka, Kansas, temporarily changed its name to Google in an attempt to capture a spot in Google’s new broadband/fiber-optics project. Then, on April 1 (April Fools’ Day), Google jokingly announced that it would be changing its name to Topeka, to “honor that moving gesture” and changed its home page to say Topeka in place of the Google logo.

Google Books available in Anachrome 3D

Google books introduced a feature which allows any book to be read in 3D, assuming the viewer has appropriate glasses. It was enabled by clicking the “View in 3D” button in the menu bar above the book. This feature was removed after April 1, but on June 29, 2010, Google announced its restoration. Google also released the latest form of 3D glasses, similar to the ones you would use today when seeing a film.

Store anything on Google Docs

Google announced that Google Docs will have the capacity to upload anything, including physical objects like keys, remote controls, etc. The site declared that one could use this to find items like keys using CTRL-F and send objects around the globe by “uploading” and “downloading” them, at the low price of $0.10 per kg.

Search results generated in different units

Google’s search results page displayed the time taken to load the results in different units from seconds. Several of these are pop culture references, as with 1.21 gigawatts, while others refer to slang:

  • at warp X.XX
  • 0.XX centibeats
  • 0.XX centons
  • X.XXe-15 epochs
  • 0.0X femtogalactic years
  • 1.21 gigawatts
  • X.XX hertz
  • XX.XX jiffies
  • 0.XX microfortnights
  • 0.XX microweeks
  • 0.XX nanocenturies
  • 11.90 parsecs
  • 0.XXe+43 Planck times
  • 23.00 skidoo
  • 2.00 shakes of a lamb’s tail
  • 0.XX times the velocity of an unladen female swallow
  • dhaka time
YouTube ASCII video filter

The logo of YouTube was overlaid with ASCII text repeating the character “1”. The YouTube logo was a reference to some videos having a new quality setting, namely “TEXTp”. According to a notice underneath the videos, viewing the video with this quality setting enabled allowed YouTube to save one US dollar ($1) per second on bandwidth costs. The notice also remarked on the source of this new “feature,” wishing the reader a happy April Fool’s Day.

However in accordance with the announcement, the video quality on many videos was indeed able to be set to ‘TEXTp’ and video output was rendered through an ASCII filter. This feature was removed on 2 April 2010.

Animal Translator BETA

Google placed a link on the main page, advertising a new Google Animal Translator service to add to their Language Translator service. Clicking the link would take you to a page advertising an app forAndroid phones for the translator, with the tagline being “Bridging the gap between animals and humans”.

Once the app is installed on an Android phone, it provides some amusing translations depending on the animal selected.

Standard Voicemail Mode for Google voice

Google placed a New! Standard Voicemail Mode link in the Google Voice main page.

Evil Bit

Google added an “evil bit” to their AJAX APIs, to aid in generating an appropriate response to nefarious deeds. If an evildoer is “detected”, the code returns with, among other things, “For Great Justice”, a quote from the video game Zero Wing.

Wave Wave Notifications

Google Wave can be set to have a human being wave at you to notify you of a change to a Google Wave. The user can also select the volume of the human notifier from a list of silent, medium, loud and vibrate. They can also select which human notifier they want, including Ashton Kutcher, Dr. Wave, Grandma, Werner Heisenberg, and Puppy. Clicking on any of the links on the new notifications page redirected the user to a Google help page, alerting them that it was an April Fools’ joke, but also that email notifications are possible.

Google Annotations Gallery

The Google Annotations Gallery (“GAG”) is an exciting new Java open source library that provides a rich set of annotations for developers to express themselves.

Japanese Input System

Google’s proposed keyboard includes a single key for each Japanese character.

Disemvoweling on Google Mail

The English-language home page of Google Mail, including its logo, was disemvowelled. A post on the GMail blog was created to address the issue, claiming that they had encountered a server error which firstly made the datacenters fail to render the vowel ‘a’ before failing to render the vowels, and were working on the problem. They also claimed to be investigating whether the letter ‘y’ was impacted.[45]

Chrome Sounds (Google Chrome Extension)

Google created a new extension, Chrome Sounds, after “months deep in psychoacoustic models, the Whittaker-Nyquist-Kotelnikov-Shannon sampling theorem, Franssen effects, Shepard-Risset Tones, and 11.1 surround sound research”. The extension provides audio for actions performed within the Google Chrome web browser. For a few interesting sounds, try going to different countries’ localized Google pages. The full list of sounds that this extension makes can be found by going to the Chrome Tools menu, choosing Extensions, turning on developer mode, and viewing the source of the extension.

Google Analytics Goes Back to Hits

Google decided that hits really is the only metric for tracking web site usage.

Life size Picasa

Google offered an option which allows the user to print lifesize cardboard cutouts of all of their photos.

ReaderAdvantage Program

Google announced a reward program for Google Reader, known as ReaderAdvantage™, in which they would assign points to users depending on the number of items read on Google Reader. The rewards were different badges, which, on visiting the ReaderAdvantage™ page and clicking on the enroll button, shows this page.

Wingdings in Adsense

Wingdings was announced as a new font option for Adsense users.[49]

2011
YouTube

A button was added to the video player which, when clicked, would apply a video filter to the video and replace the audio with piano music to resemble the style of a film from 1911 in a Phrygian mode. If subtitles are enabled when watching the video, intertitles will be displayed containing the dialogue. The upload page also featured an option to “send a horse-drawn carriage to me to pick [the video] up”. In addition, a few videos were made parodying several viral videos, such as the “Flugelhorn Feline”.

Gmail Motion

A body gesture oriented way to send and view mail through Gmail. In the “How it Works” Section it reads “Gmail Motion uses your computer’s built-in webcam and Google’s patented spatial tracking technology to detect your movements and translate them into meaningful characters and commands. Movements are designed to be simple and intuitive for people of all skill levels.” An overview video presented by Gmail product manager Paul McDonald explains Gmail Motion’s “language of movements that replaces type entirely” while a mime artist performs the full-body Gmail actions.[51]

Upon clicking the “Try Gmail Motion” button, it tells you about the prank, and says “Gmail Motion doesn’t actually exist. At least not yet…” The page also offers a preview of the features of Google Docs Motion.

Google Docs Motion

Using Gmail Motion’s technology, Google has promoted the BETA version of Google Docs Motion which “will introduce a new way to collaborate — using your body” in their Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings, and Document List tools.

Autocompleter Job

A YouTube video was posted by Google showing a “Google Autocompleter” employee explaining the job. Also, a job opening was featured for an “Autocompleter.” Clicking on the “Add to job cart” or “View cart” links to a google search for “google april fools day pranks”.

Chromercise

Google Chrome launched a new website called “Chromercise”, which aims to increase people’s hands’ strength and dexterity while browsing the web faster, and also allowing their hands to fit “into sleeker, sexier gloves”. On the website, they also gave away free Google Chrome finger sweatbands for a limited time.

Japan

Due to the large-scale devastation from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, in lieu of a traditional April Fools hoax, Google Japan featured many never-before featured drawings from its 2009 Google Doodle competition, themed “What I Love About Japan” drawn by Japanese schoolchildren, saying “We promised that only the top prize winners would be featured on Google, but as this is the only day where lies are forgiven, we have obtained the other children’s understanding.” As a small concession to the usual festivities, the Google Blog mentioned, “This year’s April Fools joke has been postponed until next year. Next year’s April Fool’s joke has been postponed until the year following that.”

Google 穿越搜索

Google 穿越搜索 (Google teleport) is a service that allows user to time travel. The site is written in Simplified Chinese. It claims that it can take you on a journey through time and space. You can experience everything in first-person.[57]

Search

Searching for “helvetica”, “comic sans”, or “comic sans ms” temporarily changed the entire webpage’s font to Comic Sans.

Comic Sans for Everyone

Announcement that Comic Sans will become the default font for all Google products. Google also created a Google Chrome extension which changes the font to Comic Sans on all webpages.

Google Cow

The Google Body homepage appeared as Google Cow, where a cow’s body can be examined in 3D. There was a toggle button that switched to human models.

Google Maps

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2011)

Google Maps used to display a dragon in Germany’s biggest forest, the ‘Pfälzer Wald’. Also a shark in Holland’s lake called IJmeer, East of Amsterdam was featured. When viewed in Earth Mode or Google Earth. These can be rendered in 3D. There is also a narwhal in the Thames in London, outside Millbank Tower. The Loch Ness monster also makes an appearance in ‘Loch Ness’ A giant red lobster sits atop the Zakim Bridge in Boston. Also a pink elephant at “Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA”.

Google Translate for Animals

Google UK purportedly offered a version of Google Translate which could be used to talk with animals.

Google Voice

Google Voice has a new function that makes users spell out common words like “embarrassed”, ”dizzy” or ”Czechoslovakia”, before they connect your call in order to prevent embarrassing messages.

Adwords

AdWords announced a new format, Google Blimp Ads, that would be flying over major cities starting in May.

Google I/O

The announced sessions for the Google I/O conference for software developers were changed to include talks featuring technologies from the late 1990s.

Contoso has gone Google

On the Google Enterprise Blog, Google announced that Contoso (a fictional company used by Microsoft in Microsoft’s product documentation materials) has switched from Microsoft Office and Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps. The post included references to 2007’s TiSP and 2011’s Gmail Motion jokes.

Meow Me Now Mobile

On the Google Mobile Blog, Google announced a new mobile-based search option for Android and iOS devices which locates kittens near the user’s current location.

Blogger

The blogging service Blogger announced that it was being acquired by Google, even though it has been part of Google since 2003.

2012
Google Maps 8-bit for NES

Google partnered with Square Enix and announced a “NES version” of their Google Maps service, to be released “as soon as possible”. The version would be released in NES and Famicom versions (the Famicom version will feature voice input by using the second controller’s microphone). In the meantime, Google added a “Quest” layer to the Maps website, which features 8-bit tile-based graphics and sprites on landmarks, both made by Google and by Square Enix (using the Dragon Quest game series’ graphics).

Improved Japanese Input System

Google’s proposed improved keyboard based on the experience with Japanese input system from 2010.[

The YouTube Collection

The YouTube Collection

YouTube added a small disc on the right side of the YouTube logo, which when clicked leads to a page about a service called “The YouTube Collection”. It claimed to be an at-home experience of YouTube and made everything from videos to comments physical, including a postal mail commenting service. At the bottom of the website, it had a fake shipping form which after filled said “Your order has been placed. Due to heavy demand, your anticipated delivery date is: JUNE 16, 2045” and in small grey text at the bottom said “Also, April Fools.”

Google Street Roo

Google announced they will deploy a ‘roo force’ of more than 1,000 big red kangaroos who will capture up to 98% of the Australian bush within the next three years.

Underwater Image Search

An underwater image search experience developed by Google China.

Google Weather Control

Google added weather control to its weather search.

Chrome Multitask Mode

Chrome Multitask Mode makes it possible to browse the web with two or more mice at the same time. Clicking the “Try Multitask Mode” button initially creates one fake mouse that moves around the screen, and over time adds several more. Clicking the “Exit Multitask Mode” button shows an April Fools message.[71]

Elegantizr

Google introduced the Elegantizr HTML/CSS framework. To use it, one just needs to insert the following line of HTML:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="http://www.google.com/landing/elegantizr/elegantizr.css" />
Piano & Sitar Analytics Playback

Google Analytics allows the user to playback their website statistics on piano and sitar.

Google Racing

Google announced a partnership with NASCAR to help create self-driving vehicles to compete in stock car racing.[72] The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on Google’s site was also changed to “I’m Steering Lucky.” [73]

Gmail Tap

Gmail Tap for Android and iOS doubles typing speed with a revolutionary new keyboard.[74] The system involves a keyboard with three keys: Morse code “dash” and “dot”, and a spacebar (along with backspace). Shortly before midnight, on March 31 2012 added Gmail Tap – Android and iOS Application utilizing Morse Code instead of onscreen keyboard. Selecting Download App for Your Phone produces the message: “Oops! Gmail Tap is a bit too popular right now. We suggest you try downloading it again on April 2nd.” Clicking Retry button will produce “It’s still April 1st, 2012. You’ll have to wait till April 2nd to download Gmail Tap.” On Gmail’s Facebook page, they also posted about a Morse Keyboard. Prior to the hoax a real iOS app with similar functionality was already available for sale on the Apple App Store called “morseLab“. This had  been on the App Store for over a month and was already in use in over 20 countries worldwide.

Really Advanced Search

A link on the bottom of search results pages titled Really Advanced Search takes users to a search page where they can filter their search results by, among other things, subtext or innuendo, page font (Comic Sans or Wingdings), loanword origin, or future modification date. Clicking on the “Advanced Search” button to actually run the search query redirects users to search results for “April Fools”.

Click-to-Teleport Extensions

Click-to-Teleport extensions allow potential customers to instantly teleport to the business location directly from a search ad in a matter of seconds. This teleportation technology shortens the “online-to-store” conversion funnel by providing searchers with an easy way to visit any business and convert. On average, advertisers using Click-to-Teleport extensions have seen their offline sales increase by 3600%.

Google Fiber

Rather than a high-speed fiber optic internet service, Google Fiber is a food bar high in dietary fiber.

Go Ro

Solving the increasingly frustrating problem of accessing mobile internet on rotary phones across the US, Google is announcing GoRo. GoRo aims to fix the problem that 100% of people using rotary phones have trouble accessing a website.

Jargon-Bot for Google Apps

Jargon-Bot instantly recognizes business terms and provides real-time, in-product jargon translation into plain English.

Google TV Click

Innovative remote control application for phone and tablet lets users interact with shows and movies as they are playing.

Google Voice for Pets

Google introduced special Voice Communication Collars that fit around your pet’s neck and use a series of sensors to record audio directly from your dog or cat’s vocal cords. Using your WiFi network, audio messages are uploaded to your Google Voice account within seconds. Alternately, a tiny micro-LED emitter built into the collar can project a keyboard onto the floor, so your pet can tap their front paws to send text messages. To understand cat or dog, Google took their voicemail transcription engine and combined it with millions of adorable pet videos from the Internet, training it to translate cat meows or dog growls into English.

$1 Google Offer for Unlimited Good Parking Karma

$1 Google Offer for unlimited good parking karma takes the stress and guesswork out of finding a good spot by providing the following service: 1) prime spots when you need them, 2) repels parking tickets, 3) includes 1 space buffer on each side, 4) shopping cart protection plan, 5) no parallel parking for first 6 months.

Canine Staffing Team

Google revealed that dogs at Google offices through the same detailed recruitment and hiring process by Canine Staffing Team as human Googlers do before being welcomed to the Googleplex.

Analytics Interplanetary Reports

While currently you only get a partial picture of website visitor location, Google Analytics is expanding beyond Earth by announcing new Analytis Interplanetary Reports to help you understand visitor activities from neighboring stars and planets. You’ll also be able to drill down on each planet to see greater detail, e.g. which colony or outpost your visitors came from similar to the city drill down available for Earth today.

“Did you mean: Beyonce” and Kanye West in the Play Music Store

Kanye West bugdroid appeared in the Play Music Store. When you searched anything, it would ask “Did you mean: Beyonce” all the time.

AdWords Planetary Targeting

With AdWords Planetary Targeting your ads appear when your customers are in or searching for locations out of this world. Planetary targeting helps you focus your advertising on the planets where you’ll find the right life forms to establish your business and to increase your ROI.

Real April Fool’s Day Product launches

Google has chosen April Fool’s Day and the day before it to announce some of their actual products, as a form of viral marketing.

  • Shortly before midnight on March 31, 2004, Google announced] the launch of Gmail. However, many people believed it was a hoax, because free web-based e-mail with one gigabyte of storage was unheard of at the time.
  • In 2005, Google increased Gmail storage to two gigabytes and released Google Ride Finder.
  • On March 31, 2010, YouTube implemented its new video page design, which had been revealed two months earlier.
  • On April 1, 2010, Google Street View received a new feature to toggle anaglyph 3D images. It was available by clicking on the icon depicting “pegman” wearing a pair of red/cyan glasses. The icon was present until April 8, when it was removed. The 3D view is now available by right-clicking on the image and selecting the 3D mode option or by pressing “T” or “3” on the keyboard. The images are genuine anaglyph images, with the red/cyan offset being greater for closer objects.
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