The Big April Fools Coverage: The Ones We Missed
Article by George Norman
On 04 Apr 2011
On Friday, the 1st of April, I put together quite a long article that focused on the April Fools pranks that some of the biggest names out there tried to pull. I had to cut that article short because I was informed that I won $27 million and a brand new Z06. Much to my dismay, that turned out to be a prank. Had it not been a prank, I wouldn’t have shown up for work today, I would be on a beach in Maui, getting ready to have a bit of kiteboarding fun.

But since it was a prank, I pick up where I left off with some April Fools jokes that I didn’t have the chance to cover on Friday. Take a look below.


Wolfram Alpha Changes Its Name
Computational knowledge engine Wolfram Alpha announced that it is moving from Alpha to Beta and changing its name. The team behind Wolfram Alpha explained that the name change is mean to reflect the future of computational knowledge. The new name of Wolfram Alpha is …BieberBeta.

Opera Comments on Gmail Motion
On the 1st of April 2009, Opera Software was announcing the launch of Face Gestures, new technology that allows you to control the Opera browser using face gestures. Check out the image presented below to get a better idea of what I am talking about; check out this YouTube video as well.

On the 1st of April 2011, Google announced the introduction of Gmail Motion, new technology that allows you to interact with Gmail via body movements. To open a message for example, you need only mimic the motion of opening an envelope.

“For us, Google's latest innovation was just an April Fools joke a few years back, so we are really impressed with them actually taking this to the market. We called our invention "Face Gestures", but "Motion" is probably a better name for a product that is not only a joke,” commented Jan Standal, the boss of Desktop Products at Opera.

Firefox’s Do Not Track Feature Protects Against Pranks
One of the cool new features in Firefox 4 is Do Not Track which allows users to opt out of behavioral advertising. On the 1st of April Mozilla announced that Do Not Track also protects against “online tomfoolery.” Mozilla explained that this feature had to be introduced after many users fell for Google’s “we’re changing our name to Topeka” prank from 2010.

Introducing ChromeLite
The Chrome team said that even though Chrome is a very fast browser, it is not the fastest there is; the fastest browser out there is an early text-based browser called Lynx. Inspired by Lynx, the Chrome team came up with ChromeLite which in its quest for speed renders the web in plain text.

“Inspired by Lynx’s approach, we decided to experiment with stripping out all the extraneous details of a web page to accelerate page load time by removing a web page’s formatting, colors, images, audio, and video. The end result? ChromeLite -- the extension which brings you the web as it was originally conceived: nothing but pure text, presented in an aesthetically pleasing monochrome palette,” said Jeff Chang, Product Manager and Dominic Mazzoni, Software Engineer.

Introducing Meow Me Now
The Google Mobile team announced Meow Me Now, a new feature that uses your location to help you find kittens near you. Voice search is supported by the Google Search App, meaning that you need only meow into your Android or iOS device and the app will find the kittens near you.

Tags: April Fools, Google, Wolfram Alpha, Opera, Firefox, Mozilla, Chrome
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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