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The Best April Fools: Today's Tech-Related Fooling

Today is April Fools' Day and as such, there's the usual crop of hoax stories popping up online everywhere.

Some of these, naturally enough, are tech-related, so we thought we'd round up a few of the best for your delectation.

The biggest and juiciest piece of fooling has undoubtedly been engineered by Google, with the company putting out a huge number of fools this morning. The best of which, for us anyway, is Google Maps 8-bit for NES.

Yes, go to Google Maps and click the Quest button in the top right-hand corner, and you'll be transported to a world of 8-bit graphics, which you can explore and "find hidden monsters".

Google warns: "8-bit Quest Maps is our Beta Maps technology and has certain system requirements. Your system may not meet the minimum requirements for 8-bit computations."

This is quite an elaborate hoax indeed, with the company going to the trouble of making a video - check it out on YouTube (opens in new tab) - detailing the cartridge they're going to release, using the latest dial-up technology to allow your NES system to hook up with Google.

Google has also put a fool up on the Gmail blog - the introduction of Gmail tap, a new input method for Android and iOS which condenses the 26-key Qwerty system down into just two keys. Yes, a dot and a dash.

It also introduces a ship-to-shore mode, which "activates your phone's flash to communicate with other power users across an ocean (of people)". Very amusing, if not nearly as intricate as the Google Maps effort.

There's also a YouTube fool, the "YouTube Collection on DVD", which promises the entirety of YouTube offline on DVD discs. Simply hunt through a pile of nested boxes to find the YouTube disc of your choice - such as "How to Open Chocolate Milk Cartons".

A particularly nice touch is the inclusion of purported manual feedback forms, complete with SAE and cardboard cut-out green thumbs-up and red thumbs-down. Watch the video for this one on YouTube here (opens in new tab).

Google has also got around to fooling about with the promise of a self-driving racing car doing 200mph, and Google "really advanced search", which lets users search by rhyming slang, innuendo and other such silliness. Oh, and let's not forget the app which allows you to change the weather via a drop-down menu.

Aside from Google's many japes, The Register (opens in new tab) has run a piece on Apple asserting a patent on the rectangle. Which some folks certainly didn't find too difficult to believe...

Stuff TV (opens in new tab)'s 42 inch iPad exclusive, however, was less likely to be believable to anyone - but still pretty amusing, complete with a full "retina" display, no less.

Techradar (opens in new tab) went with a new Photoshop CS6 "Content-Aware Age Tool" which increases or decreases a subject's age, complete with a "Clooning stamp" and smugness opacity slider to make you look more like George Clooney.

All in all, there are some pretty amusing efforts out there today...

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.