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Google whacks out double April fool

As it is the case every year, Google has made two April fool announcements with one of them actually involving a company outside Google for the first time ever.

At 12:01 this morning (opens in new tab), Sir Richard Branson, President and Founder of Virgin Group wrote a post on Google's official blog, saying that Google and Virgin had partnered to launch Virgle, Inc, a joint venture whose aim is to establish a permanent settlement on Mars.

The first flight to Mars is apparently scheduled to start in 2014 with Virgin founder Richard Branson and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin becoming the first Earthly Martian.

There's even a questionnaire for potential candidates and like all Google April fools, it comes with a few tongue-in-the-cheek comments.

But fiction meets reality as Richard Branson's vast empire already counts a space venture - Virgin Galactic (opens in new tab) is expected to launch its first Shuttle with the first Space tourists within the next few years.

The other Google April prank is a less funny and more down to earth one; the Google Custom Time which effectively allows you to specify at what time the email was sent ... in the past.

Google says that Gmail utilizes an e-flux capacitor to resolve issues of causality (see Grandfather Paradox (opens in new tab)) and that "Any email you send to the past appears in the proper chronological order in your recipient’s inbox."

Past Google April fool jokes include Google MentalPlex, PigeonRank, Copernicus Centre, Google Gulp, Google Romance, Google Paper and Toilet Internet Service Provider.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.