10 Tech Pranks Google Pulled on April Fools' Day 2017

Article by George Norman (Cybersecurity Editor)

on 03 Apr 2017

Any other day of the year, Google is a serious and focused company that doesn’t mess around. But on April 1st, all seriousness goes out the window and Google shows that it has a fun side and that it loves to pull pranks.

We’ve seen some hilarious pranks from Google throughout the years – 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Let’s see what pranks the search engine giant prepared for 2017, shall we? Featured below are the 10 amusing pranks that Google pulled on April Fools' Day 2017.

1. Google Maps brings back Ms. Pac-Man

Back in 2015, Google Maps introduced PAC-Maps, an update that let you play the classic arcade game within Google Maps. For April Fools' 2017, Google Maps has resurrected PAC-Maps, once again allowing you to play the game within Google Maps.

PAC-Maps is available until April 4 on iOS, Android, and desktop. Tap the Ms. PAC-Maps icon to play the game on iOS and Android. Click the Insert Coin button from the bottom left hand corner to play the game on desktop.

2. Google Netherlands introduces Google Wind

Living in the Netherlands is great, apart from one tiny teensy little problem: it rains 145 days a year. It is a nuisance that the Google Cloud Platform team aims to fix with Google Wind.

"We upgraded some historical windmills in Holland with control modules connected to Google Cloud Platform. Google Wind then uses Machine Learning to recognize cloud patterns and orchestrate the network of windmills when rain is approaching. Test results look very promising," said Google Netherlands.

3. Take a selfie with the Chromebook Groupie Stick

Google introduced 3 new Chromebook accessories on April Fools' Day, chief among them being the Chromebook Groupie Stick – a Chromebook-sized selfie stick that you can use to take beautiful, high-resolution selfies of an entire group.

The other two accessories that Google introduced are the Chromebook Cardboard and the Chromebook Workout Armband.

Chromebook Cardboard is a VR headset for "larger-than-life experiences wherever you go."

Chromebook Workout Armband is meant for the dedicated athlete and anyone who wants to "go big with your workout."

4. Word Lens understands Heptapod B

With Google Translate’s Word Lens, you can point your smartphone at some text and the app will instantly translate it. Support is provided for a lot of languages, including Heptapod B. Google Translate has collaborated with esteemed linguistics professor Louise Banks to make it possible for Word Lens to understand the circual heptapod logograms.

"We interpret Heptapod B into English, Chinese, Danish, Japanese, Urdu, Russian, French, Spanish and Arabic. As with our other Word Lens languages, it works offline, which is really handy if you happen to need to read a circular logogram in an isolated location. Dr. Banks assures us that the app will continue to work for at least 3,000 years," explained Jesse Friedman, Sociolinguist and Intrahuman Communications Specialist with Google Translate.

5. I’m Feeling Woof or Meow for iOS

The latest update for Google for iOS introduces a new 3D Touch feature that’s meant to be used by your pet: I’m Feeling Woof if you have a pet dog, I’m Feeling Meow if you have a pet cat. Your dog can use I’m Feeling Woof to search for Frisbees, rawhide bones, and other things that dogs love. And your cat can use I’m Feeling Meow to search for birds, fishbowls, balls of yarn, and so on.

6. Google Play for Pets

Google has something for Android pet lovers as well: Google Play for Pets, a new category of Android apps and games to keep your pet stimulated.

7. Haptic Helpers takes VT to the next level

Virtual reality transports you into another world by engaging two primary senses: your sight and your hearing. Wouldn’t it be great if the VR experience would cover more senses, like taste, touch, and smell? Well, with Haptic Helpers it does!

"With current VR technology, you can put on a headset, and the visuals and audio will make you feel like you've been transported to a new place. But incorporating other senses into the VR experience—to make you feel like you’re actually there—has remained an unsolved challenge. Until now," said Jon Wiley, Director of Immersive Design at Google.

8. Put a Google Gnome in your backyard

Your home is full of smart devices: smart TV, smart fridge, smart light bulbs, smart thermostat, and so on. What about your backyard? If you want to your backyard some smarts, check out the brand new Google Gnome.

"Google Gnome is a voice-activated, hands-free tool designed to make backyard living effortless," explained Kyle Conerty, Backyard Technologist on the Google Gnome Team. "Need to know what animal is squeaking in your bushes? Stay still and ask Gnome what sound an opossum makes. Running low on birdseed? That’s where Gnome comes in. You can even use Gnome’s proprietary high-intensity lasers to trim your hedges into whatever shape your heart desires. The only thing that can fence in Google Gnome is the literal fence surrounding your yard."

9. GCP expands to Mars

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is expanding to Mars, opening a dedicated extraterrestrial cloud region and the first interplanetary data center (coming 2018). The name of this interplanetary data center is… Ziggy Stardust.

"The Martian data center will become Google’s greenest facility yet by taking full advantage of its new location. The cold weather enables natural, unpowered cooling throughout the year, while the thin atmosphere and high winds allow the entire facility to be redundantly powered by entirely renewable sources," said the Google Cloud Storage and Google Geo teams.

10. Google Japan created a bubble wrap keyboard

Meet the Google Japanese Input Puchi Puchi version.

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