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Google April Fools' Pranks 2013: YouTube Closing, Google Nose, Gmail Blue & More!

Danny Goodwin
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Smells like April Fools' Day. You know, immature and cheesy, with a quick, bright finish. At least according to Google Nose, one of the latest additions to Google's long line of new technologies that never seem to quite make it past April 2.

Much like in 2012, the April Fools' Day pranks arrived early from Google – and it brought the shocking news that YouTube is shutting down to prepare to pick the Best Video ever. Read on for an ongoing recap of all the practical jokes.

Closing the YouTube Contest Competition

youtube-judges-april-fools-2013

YouTube began in 2005 as a contest to find the best video in the world. And now it's finally time to pick the winner, the YouTube Blog announced..

"Tonight at midnight, YouTube.com will no longer be accepting entries," said Tom Liston, Competition Director at YouTube, said in the video above, which features many stars from viral video, and was posted hours before it officially became April 1 in the U.S. "After eight amazing years, it is finally time to review everything that has been uploaded to our site and begin the process of selecting a winner."

The video warned everyone to watch everything before YouTube deleted it all. Make sure to check back in 2023 when YouTube returns online and you'll see the "Best Video" winner … and nothing else.

Watch the nominee announcement April 1 at 9 a.m. PT, as YouTube promises to announce all the nominees for 12 hours every day over the next two years here.

Google Nose Knows: Smell the Fear…or the Waffles!

google-nose-beta

Ever been searching Google and wanted to know what something smells like, what other searchers are sniffing for, or wanted to share an aroma via Google+? Well, take a whiff from Google's Aromabase and its whopping 15M+ scentibytes collected by StreetSense vehicles and Android Ambient Odor Detection.

Does Google Nose have the smell of success (sweet)? You decide.

Courtesy of the Google Aromabase, you can search and smell:

  • Abraham Lincoln - Old, musty, remnant of American history
  • Airport terminal - Baked tarmac and lost luggage
  • Apple Pie - Carmelized sugar, tarty fruit and baking powder
  • April Fools' Day - Immature and cheesy, with a quick, bright finish
  • Banana - Sweet isoamyl acetate
  • The Beach - Salt water, suntan lotion and nostalgia
  • Beer - Barley, wheat and a bit of alcohol.
  • Belly button - An organic tweed cotton potato sack
  • Brownies - Fudgy chocolate deliciousness
  • Bubble bath - A refreshing blend of lavendar and soap.
  • Buffalo sauce - Hot sauce, oil and lots (and lots) of meat
  • Cabernet - Fruity, oaky, that'll be $22 plus state sin tax
  • Campfire - Charcoal, toasty smores, July
  • Campsite - Burning firewood with marshmallows and bear droppings.
  • Canned cat food - Week-old salmon mixed with cardboard and vinegar
  • Car exhaust - Poison, gas, and a salty hint of rising seas
  • The carnival - Cotton candy and clown sweat
  • Casino - Cigarette smoke and the smell of sweet, sweet victory
  • Cave - Wet moss, cold stone and danger
  • Christmas tree - A mix of pine, presents and joy
  • Clam Chowder - Cream and the ocean
  • College dorm - Sweaty, with scents of leftover pizza and burnt popcorn.
  • Cologne - Perfume with a hint of testosterone
  • Diaper - Baby powder and poop
  • Doctor's Office - Latex and sterile metal
  • Dollar bill - Cotton and linen covered in dirt, sweat and greed
  • Dumpster - Unwashed socks in a locker room after a hockey game
  • Durian - Horribly, rottingly, retchingly...um, tasty!
  • Fear - Sweat, adrenaline, proximity to hungry carnivore
  • Fishermans Wharf - Sunbathing seals and clam chowder
  • Fresh brewed Colombian coffee - Burnt beans sprinkled across dark chocolate
  • Garlic breath - Allyl methyl sulfide
  • Golf course - The countryside on a sunny Sunday morning; a hole-in-one; Armando's country club sandwich delivered straight to your cart
  • Google I/O - Gadgets, over-heated computers and innovation
  • googleplex-google-noseGoogleplex - Sun, trees, moonshots, optimism, multi-cultural food, over-heated computers, and five-toe shoes
  • Grandpa's Hat - Strong coffee and the forest
  • Grapefruit - Citrus and a bright summer morning
  • Gym clothes - Sweaty and dirty with a hint of accomplishment
  • Hair Dye - Bleach, chemicals and a fresh start
  • Hair Salon - Burnt hair and gossip
  • Halloween - Candy corn and/or pennies in a cardboard box
  • Horse manure - Dirt and feces sprinkled atop an organic farm
  • Hospital - Cold, clean, with hints of disinfectant spray
  • Hot Springs - Boisterous bursts of sulfur with a hint of pencil lead on the nose
  • Hot tub / Jacuzzi - Chlorine with a hint of romance
  • Improperly installed batteries - Burnt tires with lots of energy
  • Incense - Sweetly pungent enlightenment
  • Jeans in the rain - A complex range of tannins jostled with pickled blueberries and aged brandy.
  • Laptop Monitor - Wafts of burnt yet shiny metal
  • Laundromat - Fabric softener, bleach and pure cleanliness
  • Lavendar - Floral, soft, fresh, with hints of grandma's potpourri
  • Lemon - Fresh, bright, sour and tart
  • Lip gloss - Artificial strawberry mixed with petroleum
  • Lobster - Buttery deliciousness
  • Locker room - Sweat, showers and teamwork
  • Maple syrup - Sugar and pancakes on a Saturday morning in Vermont or Canada
  • Mars - A Curious blend of sulphur and rust with a sparkling whiff of carbon dioxide.
  • Metal - Iron and quarters
  • Moon rocks - Burnt gunpowder after a desert rain
  • Moth balls - Sweet shoe polish with sprinkles of ammonia
  • Nail polish remover - Pungent and chemical beauty. Makes you feel pampered, but also like you need to shower.
  • Nail salon - Spa water and refreshing notes of acetone
  • Newborn infant - Fresh baby powder with a side of hour-old feces
  • New car - Fresh and expensive
  • Newly mown grass - Hot, pungent, scratchy, requires iced tea.
  • Old hotel room - Air freshener and scandal
  • Parisian streets in the morning - Flakey croissants dipped in brewing espresso
  • Peanut butter - Peanuts, oil and nostalgia
  • Perfume - Cologne with a hint of estrogen
  • Permanent marker - Rubbing alcohol poured into a puddle of gas
  • Pinot Grigio - Grapes, fruit, flowers and a buzz
  • Pizza - Cheesy goodness and yeasty bread paired with a college all-nighter
  • Printer paper - The freshness of a new start, or an office supply store
  • Public Library - A musty, dusty smell evoking brilliance and imagination
  • Pumpkin - Cinnamon-covered squash on Halloween
  • Rain Forest - Fresh air and monkey droppings
  • Rock concert - Mist from fog machines and the sweat of fans dancing and jumping
  • Roses - Love, warmth, joy (f); Stress, tension, guilt (m)
  • Sauna - Old men sweating after a long day on the golf course
  • Sesame Chicken - Honey, sesame seeds, and oil. In sum: fried perfection.
  • Skiing - Fresh piles of newly fallen snow and frozen sweat
  • Skunk - Putrid; burnt rubber, oil
  • Stale beer - Sticky wooden floors the morning after the frat party
  • Success – Sweet
  • Sunscreen - Sun, sand, sun, sea, sun, plastic toys, sun, vacation, sun, sun, sun
  • Taxi Cab - Leather seats, masked by body odor and cigarette smoke from the prior passenger
  • Toothpaste - Refreshingly minty and clean
  • Turkey - Gravy with a hint of drowsiness
  • Used Clothing - Sweaty cotton drenched with memories
  • Unattended litter box - Distinct boquet of ammonia with an earthy undertone
  • Used napkin - Leftover pasta sauce with the chunk of the brocolli you picked out of your tooth
  • Vampire - Heavy smell of blood, light hint of garlic
  • Vanilla - Calming sweetness. Often compared to chocolate, though arguably not as good
  • Victory - Napalm and sweet success
  • Waffles - Sweet bread and maple syrup on a Sunday morning
  • Wet Dog - Aggressive and foxy with notes of musk, wet towel
  • Yogurt Parfait - Oats and grains sprinkled over a beehive in the summer, as a cow gets milked by his farmer nearby.

Google Cold Searches

google-cold-searches

You've heard of Google Hot Searches. Now meet Cold Searches. Yes, it's all the anti-trending searches that only a few hundred people are searching for.

Whether it's "Y2K", or "Do my legs look fat, or is it just that my jeans are too tight?" "macarena step-by-step", or even "what it means when you text hey girl good night but she doesn't answer", Google will show you some of the least popular searches. U.S. (and today) only.

Google Treasure Maps

google-treasure-map

Yarrr! Google has introduced Treasure Mode to Google Maps. The goal is to solve a mystery involving a treasure map that once belonged to an infamous pirate Captain Kidd.

The maps let you explore 2D landmarks as you explore for hidden treasure chests. And as Google warns, "Treasure Maps is our Beta Maps technology and has certain system requirements. Your system may not be able to display at higher resolutions than paper print. Take care when unfolding the map to avoid ripping it."

Gmail Blue

gmail-blue-logoCelebrating its ninth anniversary today, Gmail is going blue, according to the Gmail Blog. And only one of the statements in that previous sentence is true.

It's Gmail. Only bluer. Why? Because brown was a disaster.

Bold is blue. Underline is blue. Italics is blue as well. Your message composes in blue.

Can you believe you've waited this long for this?

Google Analytics Reports 41 Visitors from the International Space Station

Checked the Real-Time section of Google Analytics lately? You should. You just might have 41 active visitors on your site from the International Space Station – Control Room:

international-space-station-control-room-41-visitors-google-analytics

If you click on that "city", then click on Traffic Sources or Content and you'll get a special April Fool's message:

april-fools-space-station-google-analytics

Google Analytics also unveiled some new Export & Send Features which you'll probably never want to take advantage of:

google-analytics-export-send-april-fools

Google Mobile ATM

google-wallet-atmAfter you've used Google Nose to get a whiff of that sweet aroma of a dollar bill – you remember, "cotton and linen covered in dirt, sweat and greed" – you may be saying, "Hey, I want some of that." Well, meet Google Wallet Mobile ATM.

Need cash fast? Why go to the bank or ATM ever again now that you can own this brilliant smartphone attachment.

Simply enter your PIN and Google Wallet Mobile ATM will let you withdraw everything from $1 bills, to $2 bills, to even $50 bills. Oh, and:

"If your mobile ATM is running low on funds, a self-driving, armored, hybrid vehicle will be alerted and dispatched to your location – arriving within minutes to quickly and safely refill their ATM."

Extreme Makeover: Google SCHMICK Edition

For those in Australia who want to turn their house into "virtual artwork" on Street View, Google has unveiled Google SCHMICK – the Simple Complete House Makeover Internet Conversion Kit.

"Forgot to mow the nature strip? Deck it out with some fresh buffalo grass. Front steps falling down? Swap them out for doric columns and a pergola. Graffiti on the front fence? Cover it with so many palm trees people will think they’re on the Vegas strip," reads the blog post.

Check out this amazing renovation courtesy of SCHMICK. Watch this:

before-google-schmick

Becomes this:

after-google-schmick

Now try it out for yourself here.

Google's Add Emotion Button

google-add-emotion-button

Sometimes (apparently) your face doesn't tell the whole story. Sometimes you need an emoticon. Whether you're feeling a little :-) or :/, Google's "Add emotion" button now has you covered.

"We will plumb the emotional depths of everyone in the photo, then summarize their feelings with a beautifully crafted, emotion icon," reads the Google+ post. "Click on the button again to return to the original version of your photo. We hope you enjoy using the feature and we look forward to seeing your emotionally-charged posts "

Google Apps Levity Algorithm

profit-palooza-google-appsEver wanted to make an email subject more fun – you know, maybe turn a subject line like "HR Memo" into "The New Hotness" but didn't know how do it? Or optimize a presentation into something more eye- and ear-catching?

Now there's a Google App for that.

"Created in partnership with legendary improv comedians from Chicago's Second City Communications, the Levity Algorithm is carefully tuned to help you spice up even the most boring of work days," reads the Google Enterprise blog post. "Send happier emails, hold more engaging meetings, write more mind-blowing presentations -- and above all, turn those frowns upside down."

Simply turn on the levity and your Google Calendar will be packed with fun events such as a chat w/ T. Fey, drinks with S. Colbert, or morning pool party and massages.

It's a Beautiful Day in the Fiberhood

Utility poles are about to become a lot more useful. Maybe. For some, especially hackers, they may become a second home. Unless people start camping out 24/7 at spontaneous hackathons.

Google has a solution for these so-called Pole Hoggers.

"We’ve heard this can be a problem and we are working on ways to detect the Pole Hoggers are institute a 2 hour ban for their use every 2 hours they use," according to the Google Fiber to the Pole site. "Until we perfect our Pole Hogging Detector technology, we ask that users do not stay for more than 2 hours when others are waiting. If this is a problem, please call the Fiber Space and ask for a Fiber Chaperone to come to your Pole and explain proper Pole etiquette."

Bing Introduces Bing Basic, New SEO Tag

Google isn't the only search engine checking in with April Fools' antics. Bing has introduced Bing Basic and the SEO tag.

Aside from being an obvious shot at Google, what is Bing Basic? As the blog post explains, it's a "special test" that discourages exploration and discovery and with a bland "1997, dial-up sensibility." So if you go to Bing's home page and type in "Google" you'll see this:

bing-basic-april-fools-2013

Hover over the colored boxes and Bing will give you the following messages, along with a link to a related Bing Images search result:

  • Having trouble seeing this picture of an artic fox eating a marshmallow in a snowstorm? (Links to "arctic fox") 
  • When there's nothing else to look at… (Links to "watching paint dry") 
  • If blank space is your thing… (Links to "plain white paper") 
  • With so many delicious flavors available, most people still choose vanilla (Links to the Bing It On page)

Click on the "I'm Feeling Confused" button and you'll be taken back to the explanatory blog post.

As for the SEO tag, Bing's post explains that you can now take control of your search rankings. With two pieces of code, you can either tell Bing what position you want your site to appear in, or simply rank one spot higher than your competitor. They are:

< link rel="SEO" query="weather" set_to_position="2" />

< link rel="SEO" must_be_before="*.mycompetitor.com/*" />

"Upon launch we’ll only recognize one “must_be_before” tag, but beginning on April 1st, 2014, you’ll be able to stack up to 50 of them in your code to offer greater coverage for your site," says Bing.

Wolfram|Alpha's Handwritten Knowledge Engine

Introducing Wolfram|Alpha's Handwritten Knowledge Engine – the only Handwritten Knowledge Engine that has a team of real humans ready to transcribe and illustrate your queries.

A warning from Wolfram|Alpha: "I definitely cannot recommend running your homework through Wolfram|Alpha, printing out the handwritten results, and trying to pass them as your own. Definitely not."

Act fast before everyone gets hand cramps and calls it an April Fools' day. Probably right around midnight.

are-you-skynet-wolframalpha

Twitter Puts a Premium on Vowels

Want to use vowels in your tweets? It'll cost you $5. Twitter's new Twttr service has arrived. Consonents are still free – and Twttr promises "y" will remain free "today and forever".

Additionally, Twitter has expanded from 140 to 141 characters, but the price for that extra character is "based on a bidding system reflecting the popularity of the character you would like to add."

"We’re doing this because we believe that by eliminating vowels, we’ll encourage a more efficient and 'dense' form of communication," reads the blog post. "We also see an opportunity to diversify our revenue stream."

Twttr Barack Obama fr mr yrs

What's your favorite spoof this year?

Seen any others? Let us know in the comments and we'll be sure to add them.

Yes, still updating…check back soon.


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