Every year, April Fools' Day is marked not only by pranks played on colleagues and friends, but by false news stories and product announcements. We've rounded up 2015's April Fools' malarkey, including a full gallery of celebrities shopping with Kogan (hi Kanye!), videos galore and the ones that turned out to be true -- yes, you really can play Pac-Man on Google Maps.
If you're in a mischievous mood yourself, be sure to check out our selection of tech pranks for April Fools' Day.
Let's cover the most important development first. As an April Fools' Day treat, Google Maps has added a Pac-Man mode -- but it only works in certain locations. Click on the Pac-Man symbol in the bottom left corner and if you're in a supported location, you'll be able to play Pac-Man directly on the map itself. If you can't play, you'll see a message telling you that -- you can either click the 'I'm Feeling Lucky' button to try another location, or search for a place that will work using a handy list of clues provided by Google. So pointless, but so awesome. [via Google Operating System)]
The Channel Nine Sinkhole
TV Tonight reports that a giant sinkhole opened up in front of Channel Nine HQ in Sydney. "Experts could not explain the cause of the rupture underneath the Free to Air station but Stan employees, working in an adjacent building, report seeing Netflix representatives loitering at the gatehouse in the early hours of Tuesday morning."
Chrome for Android has added a pointless new option: Chrome Selfie. Tap on the menu button and you'll see a 'Share a reaction' option which will activate your phone's camera. Take a selfie and it will be added to a picture of the page you're viewing, which you can then share with others. (This won't work unless the date on your phone is set to April 1.) [via Google Operating System]
Takeaway delivery site EatNow has pretended to launch Munchie Matchmaker, an app which pairs up single people eating alone:
Launching April 1st at 12pm, online takeaway and food delivery company EatNow will launch Munchie Matchmaker and like Tinder and Match.com the program will take into account age, location and sexual preference, however the main appeal is to give users the option of matching with those who like the same cuisines and eat around the same time. The program will appeal to single nightshift workers, homebodies, and those who don’t want to be ‘that’ person eating solo at a trendy restaurant.
Google Says Australia Is Moving North
Google's Australia joke is a blog post which claims the equator is slipping, meaning Australia will be in the Northern Hemisphere by 2055. As yet, Google Maps has not been updated to reflect this (presumably because of all the Pac-Man activity), but there is a spoof video.
Because pandas, obviously. This product would totally sell.
Sendbox By Inbox
Is anyone at Google doing anything other than creating April Fools' gags today?
A service to identify forgotten accounts and erase them, this is surprisingly fun.
The HR-V Selfie Edition
Yes, Honda claims to be developing a car with 10 built-in selfie cameras.
Samsung Blade Edge
This we could use: a phone with a sharp edge for chopping food. Might cause problems on planes though:
Galaxy BLADE edge features a set of sensors and algorithms that analyze your grip, dexterity and strength, setting the weight in optimal proportion to create the perfect rhythm and inertia. This smart feature, in league with the super sharp edge, makes chopping and cutting up to 50% faster than with conventional knives. It also has a special feature for slicing fruit and dicing vegetables.
Google Adding Fire Warning To Some Apps
Google Operating System claims that Google Play will now warn some phone owners if apps might cause overheating:
The latest version of the Google Play Store app brings a new feature for those who own a Snapdragon 810 phone. Many people complained about the overheating issues of Qualcomm's flagship SoC, so Google decided to add a fire warning icon next to the apps and games from the Play Store that require a lot of resources.
The Aquarium Experience For Cats
Sydney Aquarium claims to be launching a special immersion program for cats:
The Kitty Snorkel Experience has been designed in partnership with Marine Biologists at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium and Dr Kim Kendall, Sydney’s best loved and one of the world’s most well-known cat specialist. The cat adventure allows our furry friends to indulge their love of being close to fish while being safely separated from the marine life. In a special glass pool within the biggest Great Barrier Reef tank, it is the purr-fect cat-mosphere for them to look and follow the fish while being separated by glass panels. The aquarium has also designed special cat lifejackets to keep the cats warm and safe during their swim.
Cloud Delivered Brings You Cloud Services On A Truck
Cloud provider Bulletproof thinks that what the cloud is lacking is an actual physical presence:
In a world first, Bulletproof will use a fleet of vans situated at strategic locations across Australia to deliver Cloud capacity to customer premises, providing instant access to computing and storage capacity within a near-instant four hours of ordering. The new service, called 'Cloud Delivered', will provide customers with the security and power of the Cloud while eliminating the invisibility that often plagues the Cloud.
Virgin's Paw Door Entry
What makes this vaguely credible is that Virgin does let pets earn frequent flyer points.
Climate Change Will Wake Up Dragons
Here's the summary of a paper that's allegedly due to be published in scientific journal Nature today:
An Australian and UK study has reported that increasing temperatures will result in an explosion of fire-breathing dragons around the world. The researchers say that dragon numbers declined during cool periods in history such as the so-called Little Ice Age but are likely to make a comeback as the planet warms. They warn that population growth has created a ready food supply and recommend that countries like Australia avoid honorific titles to avoid attracting the attention of hungry dragon hatchlings, which have traditionally favoured knights as a food source.
Surf Lifesavers Will Work All Winter
Apparently surf lifesavers in NSW just can't get enough:
"To many of us 'summer' is more of a concept really and a lot of our people can't wait to get up pre-dawn, don their red and yellows, brush the ice from the rescue board and huddle under the patrol tent, with only the promise of a sausage sanger to keep them warm."
Spam is almost always annoying, but occasionally the appalling Engrish or ridiculous promises contained therein will raise a smile. Google's exclusive new service collects all the greatest hits. Here's the "official" statement:
After reinventing Gmail with Google Inbox, Google is about to release a new invite-only service that will change the way you manage your mail. It's called Google Spam and it shows the most popular spam messages sent to Gmail users. That's right, Google Spam will go beyond your inbox and show what you've been missing all this time: the spam messages received by other people. To protect user privacy, Google Spam will only show messages received by at least 10,000 Gmail users. You'll be able to star your favorite spam messages, label them, forward them to your friends and even find their true meaning. Gmail will highlight important spam messages, so the next time you receive messages from "the office of the US Ambassador to Nigeria", "Mr. Lee Kun-hee of Samsung Group chief and the Hyundai chaebol" or from Gmail Security Maintenance, you'll know if they're featured in Google Spam.
NSW Government To Sell Off Kid Playgrounds
The privatisation of public assets was a hot-button issue during this year's NSW election. It turns out we had a reason to worry. According to a leak distributed by KoalaSafe, the Baird government will now move to sell off all playgrounds in NSW. "Kids don’t play in playgrounds anymore anyway," the Premiere allegedly said.
Proceeds from the sale will go towards a new digital park that kids can enjoy on their computers; just like Minecraft. The reasoning behind the decision is that government funds need to be directed to where they will bring the most benefit; namely computing devices and smartphones.
Microsoft Surface Watch
Show up those Apple Watch fanboys by sticking Windows on your wrist.
New Tax For Online Shoppers
Consumer advocacy group Choice has recommended the introduction of a new tax to help Australian retailers compete with online competitors from overseas. The Competitive Retailer Assistance Package (CRAP) would require all Australian internet users to make an annual contribution similar to the Medicare Levy.
“We all know that reducing the GST low-value threshold would incur more costs than it raises, and subject millions of Australians to additional red-tape and collection costs for no overall economic gain,” Choice explained in a statement.
“But simply taxing households and providing the proceeds directly to established retailers would achieve the same objective far more efficiently. We look forward to the Federal Government considering the CRAP as part of the tax white paper process."
RedBalloon Trials New Experiences
RedBalloon is a gift service that provides vouchers for cool real-life experiences like sky-diving and hot air balloon rides. It's latest batch is a bit left-of-field, however. They include a Zorb Cannonball ("Be fired 20m in the air in a giant Zorb"), Beard Floristry Workshop ("Maximise your hipster street cred") and Selfie Stick Lessons ("Finally take an awesome picture with your dog".)
The Vodafone "Emoji Phone"
You can currently register your interest in Vodafone's new Emoji Phone: a boomerang-shaped handset that boasts a full Emoji keyboard. "This marriage of design and efficiency would ensure productivity beyond a limited 26-character keyboard helping you get quickly to the heart of your conversation," Vodafone explains. The company then goes on to explain that the whole thing is an April Fools' joke -- because there are idiots out there who would actually believe this thing exists.
Appliances Delivered By Blimp
The Tony Abbott Budgie Smuggler Auction
As if anyone would want to own them, but Groupon is pretending it's happening:
Possibly photographed more than any other swimwear in history outside of Borat’s lime green mankini, these iconic Speedos were found in-situ, freshly worn and salt crusted, on a bench in the change rooms of Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club by a member of the Society of Australasian Domestic Interior Executives (SADIE), who has verified the item’s authenticity.
The Chocolate Crisis
Finder.com.au reveals that a shortage of cocoa means there will be no more chocolate by 2015.
The Dodo Chauffeur Balloon
Frankly, we're not sure how reliable a Dodo-powered chauffeur hot-air balloon service would be.
The Fatter Duck
A seat at Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck in Melbourne is a prized ticket, and now Gourmet Traveller is claiming it is moving to an all-duck menu. We would totally eat that.
Documents Delivered By Dachshund
Thanks DocSend, we really want this one to be real.
Telstra "Potty Mouth" Sensor
Here's a new product for Telstra's sizable pensioner demographic: it's a voice recognition app that works on a split-second delay. If someone utters a profanity during a phone call, it automaticallt bleeps out the profanity just like on radio or TV.
Flight Centre "Cargo Class"
Can't afford to fly economy? Flight Centre has a deal for you! The super-cheap Cargo Class is housed inside the aircraft's cargo container, offering passengers a full lay flat bed in a personal coffin-like 'pod'. Still better than flying Tiger.
Kodak Picture Kiosk Dashboard
The Kodak Picture Kiosk Dashboard lets you print out holiday snaps directly from your car. It can be installed in any late model car or truck equipped with a dashboard and an internet connection. Optional extras include "hands-free" voice control and an extra-long print delivery chute for back seat drivers.
V Energy Breakfast Spread
Kick-start your day with V's new Guarana + Yeast extract spread! Y'know, what? I would totally buy this.
Clarkson Embraces Electric Motoring
According to The Guardian, ex-Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is backing fossil fuel divestment in the wake of his acrimonious split from the show. "One minute I was cruising along in a Porsche Cayman S to Dark Side of the Moon. The next I was in a bloody Prius humming along to Keane," Clarkson explained. "If you'd told me a month ago that I would be joining the tree-huggers in their hand-knitted kerb-crawlers I’d probably have punched you." Read the full story here.
Brightgreen Tru-Colour LED Hats
A product for the selfie generation: a hat with a tiny row of Tru-Colour LEDs that ensure your face is bathed in perfect lighting at all times. There is no doubt in my mind that people would actually buy this thing.
Steam-powered video game console
Think Geek's marvelously retro gaming cabinet is powered entirely by steam. Just add water and start playing!
Kogan Is Now A Celebrity Shopping Mecca
In a neat and very elaborate prank, online retailer Kogan has replaced its regular pop-ups saying that someone just bought a particular product with pictures of celebrities and politicians making purchases. Apparently George Brandis needs a spy pen. Here are the ones we saw (we'll let you find the Eddard Stark one yourself):
We'll keep updating this list as we spot more pranks, tweaks and fake stories. If you see one we haven't mentioned, tell us in the comments!