April Fools Day is upon us, and that means of course that you’ll be fed lies all day long. It’s an interesting day, particularly in the tech, news, and tech news industries, where even companies get in on the fun. Google is no stranger to April Fools tom foolery, and they’ve got a number of silly announcements up today.
First, the most noticeable one: Google has changed its name to Topeka, in honor of Topeka, Kansas recently announcing it would change its name to Google, to get in on Google’s experimental ultra-high-speed broadband project.
"We didn’t reach this decision lightly; after all, we had a fair amount of brand equity tied up in our old name," says Topeka CEO Eric Schmidt. "But the more we surfed around (the former) Topeka’s municipal website, the more kinship we felt with this fine city at the edge of the Great Plains."
He also says the initiative "will have no bearing on which municipalities are chosen to participate" in the broadband project.
Google announced a new mobile search feature called, "Where am I?". Go to Google.com on your phone and search "where am I" it will tell you your location. When I checked, I was in Mordor, Middle Earth.
"Note that in this alpha release, we are finding that our results can be slightly off," says Google software engineer John Eric Hoffman. "However, accuracy should improve with greater usage. So if at first the answer is not what you’d expect, please continue to try it over the next couple of days and ask your friends to do the same."
Google launched Google Romance, which let’s you "pin all your romantic hopes on Google."
"When you think about it, love is just another search problem. And we’ve thought about it. A lot," the company says. It offers users the following: uploading your profile, meeting your soulmate, contextual pre-date advertising, meeting for drinks, the main course, unexpected results, contextual dating advice, and contextual courtship.
Google Voice introduced standard voicemail mode with features like:
– Automatic voicemail deletion
– Numeric keypad access
– Beeper interoperability
– Message maximums
– Numeric page
Google Wave introduced Google Wave wave notifications, which features a human coming up to you and waving to you when you have a new wave.
YouTube introduced TEXTp, a way to watch YouTube videos in text-only mode, to save YouTube bandwidth and money.
Google announced you can now upload and store anything in the cloud with Google Docs. "For example, do you ever wish you could CTRL+F your house keys or your TV remote? Store your keys, remotes, rail passes, and other objects you commonly lose with Google Docs, and you’ll never have to worry about finding them again," explains Google Docs Product Marketing Manager Peter Harbison. "Having trouble moving your piano from New York to California? Upload it from your home in New York, then download it once you’re in California. Change your mind and want to share it with your friend in England instead? No problem. With one click you can have your piano delivered to anyone you choose, anywhere in the world."
Google Books announced that it is offering books in 3D:
In the UK, Google has launched a new animal translation app for Android:
Taking an earful of inspiration from the HTML5 audio tag, we’ve spent the past few months deep in psychoacoustic models, the Whittaker-Nyquist-Kotelnikov-Shannon sampling theorem, Franssen effects, Shepard-Risset Tones, and 11.1 surround sound research to build a cutting-edge audio-driven user interface for our users, available through a new Chrome extension. With this extension, Chrome will provide audio feedback as you browse to web pages and interact with the browser.
Google no doubt has various other pranks in place in different countries, and possibly others that will be uncovered throughout the day. It’s clear that they’re having a good time with this, and it’s still pretty early in the day. In Mountain View, it’s really early.
Update: Google’s Picasa announced LifeSize photos, Google physicists have discovered an extra dimension in Street View, and the Google Analtyics team is saying that there is only one metric that matters in analytics.
Update 2 : AdSense is now offering Wingdings as a font choice.
What’s your favorite Google April Fools prank? How would you compare these to previous years? Share your thoughts.