2014 April Fool's Day

2014 April Fool's Day

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Background

Keeping with internet tradition, on April 1st, 2014, numerous websites and online services released gag videos, blogs, and features in honor of April Fool’s Day.

Notable Examples

Google

The Internet and software giant Google continued its annual pranking with fake product announcements across several of its platforms, including a Pokemon challenge on Google Maps[4] and a celebrity photobombing enhancement tool for Google+’s auto awesome application that featured David Hasselhoff.[2]



In addition to the Pokemon Challenge, Google also unveiled a number of other tongue-in-cheek product concepts, such as Google Japan’s Magic Hand device,[12] which superfluously allows its user to operate a touchscreen smartphone or tablet device via USB-connected, joystick-controlled mechanical hand, Google Gas,[15] which provided gas through a USB powered Gas handle from up to 4 GB, and Gmail’s Shelfie service,[3] which allows its users to share screenshots of their custom themed inboxes. Other gags included G Analytics: Data-less Decision Making, G Apps For Business Dogs, G Fiber: Coffee to Home, AutoAwesome for resumes, G AdBirds from AdWords, and G AdSense: Interplanetary Reports.[11] [13] [14]


YouTube

Meanwhile, YouTube took a satirical jab at its own viral media culture by offering a mock forecast of up-and-coming viral trends in 2014, such as Clocking, a parody of Planking and other photo fads, Baby Shaming, a parody of Dog Shaming and Glub Glub Water Dance, a music video parody advertised as the Gangnam Style of 2014.[6]



Since 2005, YouTube’s staff has worked tirelessly behind the scenes, meticulously crafting the viral videos and Internet memes you’ve come to know and love. From mainstream hits like Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake to your obscure web forum favorites, our staff of writers, producers and directors has shaped the pop culture moments that matter in our digital lives. And this year, we’ve got a big, special announcement. For the first time, we’re looking to you, the YouTube community, to submit your own viral trend ideas.

Reddit

Reddit released a motion-tracking webcam service known as “Headdit,” with the “head” being short for “Hand Equivalent Action Detection,” offering its users a hands-free way to browse and navigate around the site by moving their heads or making specific facial expressions. In the official blog announcement,[1]2 a handful of action cues and gestures were provided in GIF form, including the frown (for downvoting), the look of surprise (for opening a link), the repeated nod (for upvoting) and even a “Cat Mode.”



Tumblr

Tumblr unveiled a premium membership known as Tumblr Pro. The membership was presented as a “free” option on user profiles and upon upgrading, users were presented with this video.

After the video played, user gained a top hat on the upper left-hand corner of their profile picture.

DeviantArt



DeviantArt also partook in the day’s activities with their concept of “ThoughtArt.” The gag used a “Browser-Brain Interface” to create and browse art on the site. Browsing for the art would take you to a random (but preselected) image and present you with a message:

Based on the communication from your neurotransmitters and your fluctuating
acetylcholine levels, this is the deviation from your mind’s search query.
Congratulations on finding the perfect match!

TV Tropes

Users who tried to edit articles on TV Tropes were greeted with a Clippy-style lamp shade that would give off random facts.[7]

Minecraft

Players of the indie game Minecraft were greeted with a new skin on their avatar as well as completely revamped in-game sounds and soundtrack.

After enough complaints were made, Minecraft creator Markus Persson tweeted this:



YTMND

Users who navigated to the YTMND homepage on April 1st, 2014, were meet with an apparent obituary paying respect to the actor Sean Connery even though the actor was still alive.



The joke continued on their news post titled “Amazing Grace” which explained that this day was the 10th anniversary of YTMND and that Sean Connery spoke the phrase in the digital trailer for Finding Forrester which led to the creation of the original site.[9]

Crowdtilt


Crowdfunding company Crowdtilt unveiled a project titled “Silicon Island” which made claims of being a utopia for tech startups.[8] The island was claimed to be located 65 miles off the coast of California. The page also claimed that Dubstep would be played on the island 24 hours a day, there would be no kitchens thanks to Soylent, Bitcoin would be the official currency of the island, and food would be brought in by drones on Fridays. Through out the day, the progress meter continued to show significant donations towards their goal of $25 million.

Upon clicking the “Reserve Your Spot” button to fund it, users were reminded it was April Fools day and Crowdtilt expressed their apologies in gif.



XKCD

XKCD used the day’s festivities to post a “Suggest a Line” feature for it’s comic “Lorenz.”[10] The comic featured multiple story lines that users could choose from in a multiple choice stye pick. Many of the different story lines included references to Pokemon, Kerbal Space Program, 2048, Dinosaur Comics, and other in-site jokes. When users arrive at the last panel of their chosen story line, they are presented with the option to “Suggest A Line” which implies that the comic would receive permanent user suggested lines at some future date.

Dinosaur Comics

The webcomic Dinosaur Comics featured a statement above its comics declaring that the site would no longer feature “pictures that never change”, but would then on feature pictures that “constantly change”. All of the comics departed from their standard use of the same pictures and featured a many other images that replacing the T-rex, which included references to other web comics such as “XKCD”:, Penny Arcade, Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, Problem Sleuth, and even actor Adrien Brody. Upon clicking the hyperlinked words “pictures that never change” users were given a version of the site that only featured the regular dinosaur comics images. Upon clicking “constantly change” users were directed to a version of the site where the images change much faster in a seizure inducing manor.


Cheezburger x Betabrand

Clothing retailer Betabrand partnered with internet meme site Cheezburger to promote a new clothing line aimed at cats.[16] Named the “Cheezburger Cat Shirt-and-Pajamas Collection” the site promoted cat sized Onesies, Shirts, and Muscle Tees that featured Human designs on them. Upon attempting to add the products to the cart for checkout, the pointer turned into nyan cat and visitors were prompted for verification of cat ownership via a Paw Scanner.


Know Your Meme

The internet meme database Know Your Meme offered users the chance to “Retire” old memes through the Internet Meme Retirement Program. At the top of articles, users were allowed the option to vote memes into retirement.

At the end of the day 30 Memes, Sites, Persons, and Subcultures had been moved to a “Retired” tag.


Notable Accounts

LeBron James

LeBron took to his Twitter account to troll his followers with the announcement of an album release.


Which he later followed with:



Bill Clinton

Also used his Twitter to post a picture that mocked Hillary’s profile picture. The photo featured him and an enlarged iPad.



Deadmau5

Electronic artist Deadmau5 made the appearance as if he had been hacked by the group Anonymous by changing his profile cover and posting these updates:





Later in the day he posted an “April Fools!” update even though most fans were aware of the date.


Other Pranks

External References

[1]blog.Reddit – Headdit

[2]Official Google Blog – Auto Awesome Photobombs

[3]Official Gmail Blog – Introducing Gmail Shelfie

[4]Official Google Maps Blog – Become a Pokemon Master w/ Google Maps

[5]Official Google Chrome Blog – Emojifiy the Web

[6]Official YouTube Blog – Viral Video Trends for 2014

[7]TV Tropes Forums – Office Assistant?

[8]Crowdtilt – Silicon Island

[9]YTMNDNews: Amazing Grace

[10]XKCDLorenz

[11]Search Engine Land – Google’s April Fools Day Jokes 2014

[12]Google Japan – Magic Hand

[13]Google AdSense – Planet Reports

[14]Google Research Blog – Making Blockly Universally Acessable

[15]Google Software Engineer Norman Cohen – Google Gas

[16]Betabrand – Cheezburger x Betabrand’s Clothes for Cats

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