For years now, the tech industry has been a sucker for the "gotcha" moment every April 1. Teams at companies large and small cook up clever gadgets and widgets and such that sound ever so almost plausible. Or not.
In case you hadn't already noticed, April Fools' Day is here again. A flurry of pranks has descended upon us via the Web. Some of them are quite smart and might just elicit a few chuckles from even the most cynical of us. Others are just plain goofy.
We're keeping tabs on the April Fools' jokes for … Read more
If you work on the Internet, it seems like you either love or hate April Fools' Day, which has become just about any tech company's excuse to make fake product announcements or attempt to mislead readers. This year was no exception: Though there was no "Hotelicopter"-like prank that actually fooled reputable news sources, fake news was more ubiquitous than ever.
Most of 2010's gags, to be honest, aren't all that funny if you don't get the tech industry in-jokes referenced. But a few, like the In-N-Out Burger prank in New York, were pretty darn good. Also worth noting: we haven't seen a single Rickroll.… Read more
Every year the tech world trips over itself to create a myriad fake products for user chuckles and some easy press. There's also a very small percentage of companies that decide to launch real products. We've rounded up six of those sites and services below, as well as some honorable April Fools' Day-related news events.
1. Google Gmail
One of the most notable April Fools' Day launches was Google's Gmail in 2004. Back then, a gigabyte of storage for a Web e-mail service was a big deal. This was especially true given that competitors like Microsoft and Yahoo were charging for extra in-box space.
Gmail wasn't open to everyone though. Its small, 1,000-user private beta test, which expanded through the company doling out user invites from time to time, became a hot tech ticket, and one that spawned an entire ecosystem of invite-trading economies.
Gmail has since continued to expand how much service it gives users, which is now up to 7.4GB.
2. Yahoo Sideline
Yahoo launched its Twitter tracking tool Sideline exactly one year ago, and it's still up and running. The Adobe Air-based app lets users keep an eye on Twitter in real time. Users can enter in search queries, and see them stream in across multiple tabs. The software is meant to be running all the time, though it cannot do some basic things like allow you to post to Twitter, or quickly follow a user that shows up in the results.
A scanning-by-mail service from a digital documents service? It seemed too outlandish that a company would eat the cost of scanning a giant stack of your documents in order to get them in its database. But that's just what Web document-sharing tool Scribd launched on April Fools' Day in 2008. We thought it was a joke and so did our readers.
The service, which was quietly killed off last year, worked pretty well in our testing (see the result). The only big downsides were that you never got your physical documents back, and you had to pay for it to be shipped to Scribd's scanning headquarters.… Read more
April Fools' Day has hit the Internet and, as usual, there's no shortage of fake news stories, gag product announcements, and corny jokes. Some are funny. Some are sort of lame attempts at being funny. Here are some of the ones we think are worth highlighting, and we'll be updating this throughout the day as we catch wind of more.
UPDATE: Gossip blog Valleywag decided to out this for what it is--an April Fool's joke. Oh, well, it would've been funny to see people pick up on it.
With the rise of "microblogging" services like Twitter that limit the number of characters in a post, URL-shortening sites like TinyURL and URLtea have taken off. A new service that just launched, Urlrurl, promises to step it up a notch by tracking the popularity of online memes that are tossed around the Web through viral link-sharing.
"Urlrurl.com stands out from other link shortening services because of its patented Relay-Stick algorithm," a release from the new start-up read, "which dives into the links put through its shortener and exposes common memes across the pages people are clicking on." That sounds pretty cool. It's also connected to the Twitter API, plugging it into one of the biggest pools of URL-shortening activity on the Web.
And there's more: "In early June, a free stats program will launch, as well as a premium service for bloggers and publishers," the release continued. "The premium service will allow publishers to register their site with Urlrurl.com and receive deep insight into how content and memes have traversed the web." Considering that no one can really tell where Internet memes emerge these days--4Chan, Fark, Digg, iVillage--this kind of service, provided it actually works, could give some interesting and oft-hilarious insights.
Urlrurl is headquartered in New York with development offices in China, and counts TechCrunch czar Michael Arrington among its angel investors.… Read more
We just got the word on a new social network called UltraSoundd. It's aimed at unborn children who want to blog their lives and post pictures and videos of their dwelling space to share with friends. Other social networks have similar efforts, but with their parents managing the profile and posting updates. Ultrasoundd lets the kid do all the work. The site just secured a $2 million round of Series A funding from Gerber's parent company Novartis.
To set up an Ultrasoundd account, parents need simply register with the site and download a small, 130KB Java application to … Read more
Here in NYC, we've been hearing a lot about rat problems in restaurants. That's a problem that the guys behind Ratatattle are trying to combat; they've created a real-time Google Maps mashup that lets users report on which dining establishments in their cities have had issues with rodents recently. It's completely user-generated: if you happen to see a rat, just head to Ratatattle, hit the "tattle" button, and you'll get a series of prompts for entering the dining venue, number of rats, size of rats, and whether or not they were anywhere near … Read more