Google April Fools' Day Gags from 2000 to 2010: a History

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Google April Fools' Day Gags from 2000 to 2010: a History

Google released its "MentalPlex" search technology that supposedly read the user's mind to determine what the user wanted to search for, thus eliminating the step of actually typing in the search query.

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Google says the closely guarded technology behind PageRank is PigeonRank, in which low-cost pigeon clusters, or PCs, could be used to compute the relative value of Web pages faster than human editors or machine-based algorithms.

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Dovetailing with Google Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin's obsession with space travel, Google advertised fictitious job opportunities for a research center on the moon.

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Google rolls out Google Gulp, a fictitious drink that could increase the drinker's intelligence through real-time analysis of the user's DNA and carefully tailored adjustments to neurotransmitters in the brain.

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Google Romance hijacked the main Google search page, telling users: "Dating is a search problem. Solve it with Google Romance." For those who thought they were looking at a rip-off, Google joked: "Tell the world who you are, or, more to the point, who you'd like to think you are, or, even more to the point, who you want others to think you are."

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Edging into sublime corniness, Google with Gmail Paper offered users the ability to request a physical copy of any message with the click of a button, and Google would send it to them via snail mail.

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Google Goes in the Toilet!

We preferred this gag from 2007: Google TiSP, which would make use of a standard toilet and sewage lines to provide free Internet connectivity at a speed of 8M bps (2M bps upload) (or up to 32M bps with a paid plan).

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Google got really crazy with April Fools' Day in 2008, offering not one or two gags, but more than a dozen. We're going to highlight our favorites from that year, starting with Virgle, a joint project with the Virgin Group to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. The announcement includes videos of Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson as well as Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

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Wake-Up Kit

The "wake up" notification will send an SMS message to your phone. If that fails, more coercive means will be used. The kit includes a bucket and is designed to be connected to your water main for automatic filling. In addition, a bed-flipping device is included for your forceful removal from your sleeping quarters.

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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."

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Gmail Custom Time

Gmail Custom Time allows users to "pre-date" their messages and choose to have the message appear as "read" or "unread."

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Google offered even more April Fools' Day jokes in 2009, starting with the aforementioned CADIE search engine. "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." CADIE would be the thread connecting most Google jokes for 2009.

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Google GBall

Google Australia said it was building a ball equipped with GPS that would change how Australian football is played.

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Google Chrome with 3D

A build of Google Chrome was offered rendering Web pages in Anaglyph 3D, powered by CADIE, of course.

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Google Earth with CADIE

Google Earth, powered by CADIE, would allow users to see ocean bottom terrain imagery from the world's most advanced submarine, among other perks.

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2010 was especially fun, including more than 15 goofs. You can see many of them in our eWEEK slideshow from last year. Remember how the city of Topeka, Kansas, temporarily changed its name to Google to capture a spot in Google's new broadband/fiber-optics project? Google vowed to change its name to Topeka.

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Store Anything on Google Docs

"As with documents, spreadsheets, and files, you also share objects you've uploaded to Google Docs with anyone in the world. 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."

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Animal Translator BETA

This is a little strange, but definitely gag-worthy. Google advertised a new Google Animal Translator mobile application for Android phones with the tagline: "Bridging the gap between animals and humans."

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Google Wave

Google Wave could command a human being to wave at you to notify you of a change to a Google Wave. Not so funny now that Wave is deceased.

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ReaderAdvantage Program

Google Reader users get one point for each item they read. "The more you read, the more you get. Be the envy of all your friends and redeem your points for cool stuff."

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