We all love to play April Fools’ Day pranks on one another. From unscrewing the lid of the salt shaker, to filling someone’s room with bean bag balls. The great thing about all these gags is that they’re accessible to anyone – with newer, more innovative pranks being discovered each year. Yep, all you really need is a tack. Or a whoopee cushion. Or superglue. Or vaseline…
But when it comes to companies there’s really just one that stands out for successfully walking that fine line of pulling off tasteful pranks without receiving a barrage of legal letters…
And that’s a little known company called Google (did we spell the name right?).
Starting in 2000 with the ‘MentalPlex hoax’ – they moved to pranks involving false jobs on the moon, to intelligence-boosting drinks, fake dating services, Wingdings as the new standard Adsense font and plenty more where that came from. This repeated activity, year after year, has made them the go-to place on that first day of April, where people would deliberately head to Google to see what the prank would be (we’re not really sure why anyone would go to this so-called ‘Google’ site otherwise..).
Here’s some of our favourite April Fools’ Day pranks from Google over the years:
Google Book Search Scratch and Sniff
Google Book Search created a fake new section that allowed users to “scratch & sniff” certain books. After being asked to place their nose near the monitor and click ‘Go’, people were told it would attract ‘load odours’. After this obviously didn’t happen, users who clicked on ‘Help’ were redirected to a page in a book that describes the origins of April Fools’ Day.
Google Australia announced the development of a ball that would change how Australian Football is played the world over using new ‘gBall’ technology with GPS. Other than measure the location, force, and torque of a gBall kick, it was said to also vibrate should any player agents or talent scouts want to speak to you.
“Did you mean: Beyonce” and Kanye West in the Play Music Store
Simple but effective. Essentially when anyone tried to search for anything within the Play Music Store – “Did you mean: Beyonce” would come up for the baffled user.
So you want to pull off a good prank? Here’s some general tips for playing to the crowd with your own gags on the big day:
Keep it legal and safe
The same advice could be said for attending family reunions but we’ll just stick to the pranks for now. We can’t cover everything here but as an example filling someones petrol tank with water isn’t a prank – it’s vandalism. Disabling someones bike brakes could kill them. And putting CAUTION tape outside someone’s house so they are led to think their entire family has been slaughtered worked in The Simpsons – we’re not exactly sure how it plays out in reality but it probably ends up with some loud shouting following by someone weeping in a corner. Look for good pranks with hilarious value without inciting fear into your unwitting victim.
Don’t drag it out into an extra day
That’s right – make sure your gags are made on the big day and preferably before midday. No one likes to be ready to have their knock-off drink only to find that it’s been replaced with vinegar – but try that at breakfast time and it’s all gags and high fives. We recommend being the first to play a prank in the morning – it’s a free ride where the effort of every person afterwards seems slightly watered down.
Avoid it taking up your entire day
Simple, effective pranks are the best. Don’t take a day off or cancel all your plans while you wait in the bushes or a cupboard for that unsuspecting victim – they might never come. Just lay the prank – then get the hell outta there! Oh, but make sure you’ve got a sweet spot to watch the plank play out.
So there you have it. Hopefully we’ve got you excited about doing your thing on April Fool Day. Is there a prank that’s forever been implanted in your mind? Maybe there’s one you’ve always wanted to play but never got the chance to do it?