There’s a lot to love about April. As the mornings become brighter, no longer do we need to force ourselves out of bed by drinking coffee so strong our hearts sound like an approaching Zulu army. Rabbits lay multi-coloured chocolate eggs. The sun returns from its six month hiatus and, as British tradition dictates, the nation responds by turning up to work stripped to the waist.
With all this joviality, it’s only fitting then that we begin the month by bringing everyone down to earth with a bump. Enter April Fool’s Day.
So what has the tech world been doing to celebrate? We thought we’d compile a list of the best of tricks and pranks that have been making their rounds on the web.
Introducing the Gmail Shelfie
The Internet was abuzz today with news that Gmail had introduced the Gmail Shelfie. What’s that? Google has absorbed the world of DIY storage into its palatial technological estate? No, instead the gag was a play on the idea of “Shareable Selfies.”
Gmail custom themes are a chance to personalise your inbox with a photo important to you. The Shelfie prank taps into the selfie craze sweeping the nation, with the idea being it would allow those who’d set pictures of themselves as their email inbox wallpaper to share those themes with others.
As a Google blog post explained, “Gmail Shelfie is built on the idea that you shouldn’t be selfish with your selfie. With just a few clicks, your mom, your aunt, or that girl you have a crush on can set your Shelfie as their Gmail theme so they can enjoy checking, reading, and writing emails while seeing your friendly face in the background.”
Samsung launches a “Wearable Glove”
Recent months have seen a flurry of patent applications for wearable technology concepts courtesy of Samsung, including a smart necklace and even (bizarrely) a smart wig. You’d be forgiven then, for thinking that today’s comparatively benign announcement that the Korean company is launching a smart glove, Samsung Fingers, were true.
Alas though, it was an April Fool’s joke. The press release announced that the glove featured a “flexible Super Emo-LED for the technology-sensitive consumer” and ThermoPad technology that detects heat so that “users no longer have the risk of drinking a cup of room temperature coffee.”
Still, if it were indeed a real announcement Samsung would have to be doubly sure to check carefully over the patent. Wouldn’t want a certain Californian fruit-based company to start throwing around lawsuits now…
Wi-Fi pigeons connect launch across London
Perhaps one of our favourite stories of the day combined cutting-edge technology with the capital’s avian residents. Whilst the burgeoning pigeon population may be most famous for its pebble-dashed embellishments of many of London’s less spiky structures, Samsung waded in with another April Fool declaring it could also be used to boost our Wi-Fi signal.
A fake Samsung employee, Tim Verhoeven, announced that “this is about thinking laterally – using one nuisance, pigeons, to fix another, a lack of Wi-Fi. It is a breakthrough of sorts but of course pigeons have always been at the forefront of mobile communications technology. From the sixth century BC, pigeons have been used as the fastest and most reliable way to send messages over great distances. As you’re never far from a pigeon in London, we think this idea could really take off.”
The report claimed that in tests where more than 50 birds gather together, they can provide a signal strength exceeding even 4G. This would be of particular interest to areas of the city with the largest population of “flying rodents,” including Picadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square.
On a slightly evil note, Samsung also added that the router battery could be recharged through the pigeons’ hollow bones when they sit on telegraph wires.
Gotta catch ‘em all
Next up, you may have noticed some odd additions to Google Maps as you navigated your way into work this morning. The Android and iOS versions of the popular app were littered with Pokémon that users can track down and catch to add to their “Pokédex.”
The icing on the cake was a job ad posted alongside the stunt which advertised the newly available position of “Pokémon Master” at Google. Whilst the mini-game itself was as real as a Charmander rampaging through Covent Garden could be, the job itself was not. Sadly.
ITProPortal gets hacked
Us at Team ITPP, dear reader, are normally far above such lowly displays of slapstick wit. It is therefore with deep sincerity that we apologise for the deluge of articles that were published to our site this morning without our knowledge or consent.
ITProPortal found itself the victim of a vicious cyber-attack at the behest of Syrian Electronic Army. Our bordering-on-obsessive coverage of the hacktivists’ activities clearly caught their attention, as the site was splurged with fake news including reports that Justin Bieber had bought Blackberry and Facebook had announced the launch of a virtual reality Farmville on the Oculus Rift. Other fictitious stories included news that McDonald’s would soon begin 3D printing happy meals, and that the onset of hot weather was jeopardising the future of cloud storage as the sun melted away all the clouds.
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