There are many in the online world that savor the annual tradition of April Fool’s Day, and the humorous ways that we try to trick one another into believing in something that upon closer inspection is clearly fake. Some even consider it to be the Best Day of the Year.
As an annual tradition, many tech-related companies seem to devote a huge amount of time and money into producing these online April Fool’s Day gags, often creating videos, websites and even a “product” to show in action. The efforts range from the subtle and seemingly plausible to the downright wacky and absurd. One thing is certain: the stakes are high when it comes to these web-based antics, and it would seem companies are working hard to deliver the best – and most memorable – jokes of the year.
We look forward to finding as many of these online stunts as we possibly can – maybe next year we’ll concoct one of our own. For now, if you missed out on the fun for some strange reason, below you will find our round-up of the 35 best April Fool’s pranks of 2015. (Editor’s note: This list is not in any particular order, and does not reflect any particular preferences or ranking.)
1. Amazon took their website back to 1999! And this was like stepping into an online time machine. They also linked to some fun content along the way.
2. Tumblr announced their ExecutiveSuite 2016 which may sound new, but it looks like a potential giant step backwards in productivity. As they put it, “We’re Doing Business Like Nobody’s Business™.” As one person in the video said “I’m genuinely frightened by it.”
3. Microsoft took its own step back in time. They offered a subtle, yet clever twist announcing the launch of “MS-DOS Mobile”.
4. Bing’s pumped out their “Cute Cloud” – for kitten pics galore. You can still try it right here.
5. Another group inside Microsoft announced the somewhat silly “Office 2016 for Cats” featuring “3 brand-new products for your furry friends: PowerPounce, OneNap and Meow.”
Clearly pets were a popular theme this year, and several companies played off of our collective affection for our furry friends.
6. Groupon launched Grouber, a cat-driven car service to get rides to your deals!
7. Uber shared its “UberLIONS” to have a lion delivered to your door for play time. We don’t recommend ordering that one, but they were also supporting a good cause that day, urging visitors to text “Lions” to 50555 to donate $10 toward National Geographic’s ground conservation projects.
8. The team at HERE Maps unveiled its first wearable tech – HERE Kitty!
9. Not to be outdone, T-Mobile took our love of pets to its logical extreme, and introduced a new mobile plan they called T-Mobile Pet’s unleashed. Sadly, the website they posted is already gone, but the video is well worth a watch – they take some not-so-subtle shots at their competitors, too:
Wearables were another popular category this year. Two notable examples include:
10. The Playstation Flow, to take your gaming underwater! The production quality in this particular video is seriously high end.
11. HTC developed a “smart sock” the HTC RE Sok – a true “feet of engineering” as they say. And some said it couldn’t be done!
12. Not wearable, but certainly functional, Samsung announced the “Galaxy Blade”, chef’s edition! It certainly looks sharp.
13. Lenovo created a new gaming laptop that probably had a few people fooled – it almost looks real. Or, maybe we just wish it was!
Another hot topic this year was the Selfie (let’s hope it doesn’t come back next year!) with several companies spoofing this photographic trend:
14. Honda introduced the “HR-V Selfie” edition car. It has more cameras built into it than your average teenage girl will possibly ever need!
15. New York-based shoe store Miz Mooz had some fun promoting their own brand of what they called “Selfie Shoes”. You have to watch this one:
16. Motorola got all serious and announced a hand-crafted Selfie Stick that will make even the most jaded hipster green with envy. The video is classy.
How about those looking to find their perfect match on April Fool’s Day?
17. There is both Tinder for Uber, which offered “Make a Tinder match with an Uber driver and he’ll split the fare with you”. And, Uber for Tinder.
18. And Uber for Tinder, so “When you get a match on Tinder, automatically request a ride to meet on Uber.” You gotta love when two companies can work together.
19. The Roku Rendezvous is dedicated to “single streamers” looking for love. A whole new dating channel and you don’t even have to get off the couch!
Fast food chains and other food/beverage companies got in on the act, too.
20. Domino’s in the U.K. introduced driverless delivery bikes for their pizzas.
21. Pizza Hut produced their own Pepperoni Pilsner. Is this the flavor of now?
22. To complement the beer, they also prepared new “Scratch and Sniff” menus.
23. In the U.S., local burger chain Wayback Burgers announced a new protein-packed milkshake, but we don’t think it fooled too many people!
24. The team at Pinnacle Vodka launched a full line of food-inspired flavors, but the joke was revealed a day early by an online blogger (who broke a requested embargo and kind of ruined the gag).
25. One that was very creative – and actually quite real came from Burger King restaurants in Japan, where they released a unisex fragrance on April Fools’ Day that they call “flame-grilled.” The fast food chain planned to sell 1,000 bottles of this spicy scent for one day only across its Japanese locations. And guess what? It sold out!
Google of course might be the king of April Fool’s Day pranks. It would appear, based on the volume of work they released this year, that they have an entire R&D department devoted to creating clever online goofiness.
26. It’s gone now, but for the day, Google released a true mirror of itself (see screenshot at the top of this story), displaying all results backwards. And this was just the beginning of their online antics.
27. If that one is too tame, how about being able to PLAY PAC-MAN within Google Maps? This was a hoot and a delightful time suck. As of this writing, it is still available. Check it out here.
28. They also produced what they called “the new face of search” in the form of a cuddly, snuggly Google Panda toy. It comes in two sizes. We’d definitely buy one.
Google also had a couple of subtle offerings, too.
29. Smartbox by Inbox by Gmail by Google is described as a “better, smarter mailbox that fuses physical mail with everything you love about the electronic kind.”
30. And Google Fiber dial-up mode “reverses the lightning fast one gigabit per second speed of fiber to the 56 kilobits per second speed that users knew and loathed when dial-up internet was popular.” They claimed they wanted to give users time for all those things you can’t do when your connection to the web is just too darn fast, like go to the bathroom, fix a snack or hug their kids before spending all day online. As they noted, “There is power in slowness.”
There is even more from Google this year that we haven’t mentioned. The Next Web is keeping a list.
We’ve got a few more to go! We hope you’ve made it this far …
31. Rovi announced a strange new game called “Agri-Birds” where farming and sims seem to be part of the point. There is a love story, too … Watch the video demo to see it in action:
32. There could be a new “Back to the Future” movie sequel planned for this summer, and this one is starring Vin Diesel! Check out “Fast to the Future.”
One of the most intriguing – and mysterious pranks of the year goes to Reddit.
33. They produced “the button” which is tied to a 60-second countdown timer. If you press the button, the timer resets to 60 second. You may only press the button once. As they noted on the page devoted to the button, “We can’t tell you what to do from here on out. The choice is yours.” As you will see, the temptation to push the button is VERY HARD to resist. As of this writing, more than 600,000 people have pushed the button – and it keeps going! Will it ever get to zero? And, what will happen when it does? (The writer of this blog post has NOT pushed the button!)
The danger of making announcements on April Fool’s Day, especially for tech companies, is that sometimes the public – and in this case, stockholders – actually believe everything you say!
34. Tesla may have learned a costly lesson this year with their announcement of the Tesla “Model W”. While trying to poke fun at another tech company that is about to launch a new digital watch, the Tesla “news” resulted in a stock dip for the company at the end of the trading day.
Finally, not all April Fool’s Day jokes need to be at the expense of the participants.
35. BMW of New Zealand turned the tables with what has been called the world’s first “reverse” April Fool’s day prank. The woman who is featured in this video is in for some very surprising news!
Need more? Check out this list over on Mashable featuring several well-known UK and European brands.