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 2016's best (and worst) April Fools' gags, including AirTasker's new platform for dogs, Contiki's virtual reality tours and the triumphant minting of the Dollarydoo.
If you're in a mischievous mood yourself, be sure to check out our selection of tech pranks for April Fools' Day.
eHarmony launches dating site for animals
There are dating sites for every conceivable sexual orientation. Now other species are getting in on the action too. eHarmony has partnered with Wild Life Sydney Zoo to launch a dating platform exclusively for animals.
aHarmony (the "a" stands for animal) is a new dating platform specifically designed for critters. Pet owners can now find a fluffy, scaly or prickly life partner for their four-legged friend. Following 12 months in development — which involved uncovering dating rituals and key compatibility factors for animals — the platform is now available as a public beta. My gold fish is pretty excited.
Google adds 'drop the mic' feature to Gmail
Google added a 'drop the mic' button to its Gmail email service which allowed users to send an email which inserted an animated gif of a minion dropping a microphone to symbolise that the sender is gets the last word. Recipients would not have the option to reply to the email.
Artisan toilet paper
US-based bathroom brand Quilted Northern released a new artisanally-crafted range of toilet paper called Rustic Weave. It's hand-pulped and hand-perforated to provide "a more memorable bathroom experience".
Available in Small Batch, Cedar Loom and Extra Virgin Birch.
Razer launches toaster called Project Breadwinner
Gaming peripheral vendor Razer has entered the home appliances market with its brand new toaster aptly named Project Breadwinner. According to the company, this is a highly-requested product and it is able to toast the Razer logo onto a piece of bread.
Australia officially changes name of currency to "Dollarydoos"
Dollarydoo champion Thomas Probst has announced on Change.org that his national campaign to change the Australian dollar (AUD) to "Dollarydoo" has been partially successful. The Royal Australian Mint will be printing 1000 limited-edition $5 banknotes on September 1 dubbed "Dollarydoo".
“We saw the massive amount of support that the petition had and we’re always looking for interesting limited edition currency to produce for collectors, so after the petition had started making news we decided to set the wheels in motion and make it happen," a Royal Australian Mint representative explained. The design will be revealed during an official announcement which is expected to come in the next few days.
Houzz Smartz: artificially intelligent furniture
Houzz's new range of smart furniture promises to make all decorating decisions for you. As the Houzz website explains: "Toss a Houzz Smartz™-enabled pillow on your sofa the wrong way, and the pillow will issue a verbal reminder – “Fluff me” – and give a resounding “That’s better” when the task is complete. Worried that your coffee table isn’t in the right place? “Slide me to the right,” the Houzz Smartz™ table chimes if your space planning is a bit off. And if at your next dinner party guests get a little sloppy, the table will command: “Please, use a coaster." You can see these exciting new products in action below:
Samsung brings brick phones back
Samsung launched the Galaxy LTD, am old school brick phone for people who hate those newfangled smartphone things.
Google helps you find your lost socks
Google has teamed up with Australian retailers to launch a range of Bluetooth-enabled Searchable socks complete with an app to locate them. You'll never lose end up with odd socks again.
"We’re teaming up with retailers across Australia to launch a new range of Searchable Socks — to organise the world’s undergarments and make them universally findable," Google explained in a statement. "These new bluetooth-enabled socks are fitted with thin LTE beacons that wrap around the top of your lower calf, just like the coloured stripes you’d see on traditional socks. If you can’t find one sock, you can press the beacon on its pair and let the Google Search app on your phone pinpoint its whereabouts."
I need this in my life. Read more about it over at the Google Australia blog.
AirTasker becomes DogTasker
There are an estimated 4.2 million pet dogs in Australia. AirTasker is finally tapping into this unused workforce via a new crowdsourcing initiative dubbed DogTasker. As the company explains: "There’s a huge underutilisation of dog labour in Australia, some of the highest in the world. We estimate over 40 million dog hours per day could be spent performing useful tasks. You could earn over $500 a week by getting your dog to perform tasks. You could turn man’s best friend, into your bank account’s best friend!"
Hire a dog to walk your dog.
Head to the DogTasker website to hire a canine. Areas of expertise include Food Delivery, Cleaning, Furniture Assembly, Gardening, Dog Walking and Web Design. (And make a donation to Assistance Dogs Australia while you're there.)
ME Bank launches 'no limit' credit card aptly called the 'cardashians'
You can choose from four credit cards, all of which are vanilla scented and comes in different shades of nude: cim, chloé, courtney and cris. The tagline for this new range of cards?
"It’s all about ME, ME, ME."
As a bonus:
In addition to credit cards, ME is also offering the ‘canye’ debit card (no overdraw facility) to responsibly manage any outrageous spending or debt complications.
Travel in virtual reality with Contiki VR Tours
Virtually Unlimited is a new travel initiative from Contiki that allows young Australians to travel the world from their own lounge rooms via the magic of virtual reality. Each Virtually Unlimited experience (RRP: $149) lasts for three hours, providing the viewer with an immersive 3D tour of some of the world's most stunning vistas.
"We have been experimenting with virtual reality for over 18 months now and are proud to be the first travel company in the world to introduce complete virtual reality travel itineraries for all senses," explained Contiki managing director Katrina Barry. "As people increasingly become time-poor and technology improves, Contiki is redefining travel and taking it to the next level. Our new ‘Virtually Unlimited’ product is the future of travel and a disruptor to the entire tourism industry, especially for airlines and accommodation providers."
The VR trips on offer include having a drink at Oktoberfest, climbing Machu Picchu, paragliding in Sweden, cycling through Vietnam and exploring Iguazu Falls. You can see how the tech works in the below video:
Lexus launched V-LCRO technology
Lexus has introduced a new interior seat option for its RC F and GS F high performance vehicles that significantly enhances the connection between driver and vehicle. Dubbed "Variable Load Coupling Rear Orientation" (V-LCRO), the proprietary technology allows the driver to take corners more aggressively while reducing movement across their back and seat.
The new seat requires the driver to wear a specially designed suit, which, through a complex pattern of hooks and loops, creates high levels of grip at any angle. It is designed to hold the driver in place at up to 3.0 Gs in any direction.
"While all performance cars use seat bolsters to hold a driver in place during aggressive manoeuvring, we're taking it a step further," Lexus general manager for product and consumer marketing Brian Bolain explained. "By partnering with Velcro Companies, our new V-LCRO technology enhances the driver's ability to maximise the cars' track-proven performance."
You can find our more about how these new seats work here.
World Of Tanks goes loony
After years of giving gamers historically accurate WW2 tank battles, Wargaming has decided to take its popular World Of Tanks franchise off planet. Between April 1 and April 5, players will be able to battle it out on the moon commanding spherical tank technology that shoot lethally over-sized 8-balls. World of Warships fans are also getting a new game mode, with oceans replaced with jacuzzis and hot tubs (April 1 - April 11).
Burrit-OH!: The dating site for burrito fans
Here's some news that is sure to delight our Takeaway Truth fans: Zoosk is launching Burrit-OH!: a new food-based dating app that matches members based on their burrito compatibility. As the name implies, it boasts more burritos than any other dating site.
Explains Zoosk: "Burrito preference can say a lot about a person — perhaps they live a simple life and only have three ingredients in their burrito, or think people that put peas in the burrito-rice are evil individuals bent on destroying the good in the world. Using its 32 Ingredients™ framework, Burrit-OH! calculates all this to find the perfect match and help daters connect on a deeper level."
Driving on top of Sydney Harbour Bridge to ease traffic congestion
National Geographic has reported that leading traffic experts have put forward a proposal for cars to be able to drive on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The plan is set to minimise traffic problems.
ABC Managing Director joins Playschool
Well, that was unexpected. Mark Scott has been named as the next host of popular children's TV show Playschool.
“I love the organisation so much that the thought of leaving left me feeling quite sad. I was approached by the producers to do a screen test for the show and I was surprised and excited to be offered the role of host,” Scott explained in a statement. "My primary school education has given me a great foundation of literacy and numeracy skills I can use on the program. I can recite the whole alphabet and count well past 100. I’m really looking forward to picking up some new skills as well particularly in arts and crafts."
CSIRO announces new animal species discovered in Australia
A 14-legged spider, a camel-kangaroo hybrid and a spine-covered crocodile are just some of the astonishing new species recently discovered in the remote town of Lirpa in the Australian outback. Photographer Steve Sloof captured the remarkable images which are currently being studied by scientists at the CSIRO. We'll have more news as it breaks. [Via DesignCrowd]
Concrete Playground to deliver babies to office workers
Following in the footsteps of Uber's successful puppy delivery campaign, Concrete Playground is upping the ante by bringing human babies to Australian offices.
UberBUBS does exactly what it says on the tin: clucky workers can order some R&R with an infant through the Uber app and watch as it is delivered directly to their office. Explains CEO Pieter Rank:
"If there's one thing you hear time and time again from successful, white collar types in the CBD, it's the regret of having put career ahead of family. Today at least, even if only for 15 minutes, we're giving them the chance to have both — no strings attached."
Concrete Playground notes that baby visits will be cut short if the infant becomes distressed, although customers will receive a 50 percent refund. You can read up on how to order your own baby here.
Sony launches real-life Proton Pack
To coincide with the new Ghostbusters movie, Sony is releasing a genuine Proton Pack that is capable of capturing content from a parallel dimension. Developed in collaboration with nuclear engineer and munitions expert Dr. Jillian Holtzmann, the 2016 Proton Pack works just like the movie version.
"The perfection of the Proton PackTM, long a dream of the world’s greatest engineers since first pioneered by Dr. Egon Spengler of Columbia University, is an example of Sony’s relentless pursuit of innovation," Sony President and CEO Kazuo Hirai said in a statement. "It absolutely delivers the wow factor that is so important to our company mission."
The device is powered by a miniaturised superconducting synchrotron, which accelerates injected protons from a hydrogen plasma cell which boasts a liquid helium reservoir to maintain temperature. The unit weighs a surprisingly light 6.66 kilograms and boasts an ergonomic footprint that aligns with the wearers spinal column. There's also an option for wirelessly capturing spectral footage with Sony accessories (sold separately.) You can check out all the specs in the below video:
Nissan launches dating app for Nissan drivers
ConnectApp is the latest specialist dating app to hit the market; this time catering to Nissan drivers. This is an optional add-on for the Nissan Connect system which lets drivers find a love match on the road.
Similar to traditional dating apps, Nissan Connect alerts you to other N-Connect profiles within range of your car who you can attempt to connect to. It's like dating drive-thru. More information here.
Sydney Harbour Bridge replica to be built to reduce traffic congestion
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) March 31, 2016
Just in case the over-the-bridge option proves unfeasible.
Jetstar Asia making its flight attendants speak Singlish
Virgin Australia bringing in Kid's Class seats
Virgin Australia is launching the world's first adult-free aircraft cabin, complete with picture books, toys and bubbles.
New "lickable food" tech coming to tablets and smartphones
Taking a leaf from Willy Wonka's recipe book, OpenTable has launched the world's first "Taste Technology" app which allows diners to sample dishes directly through their mobile or tablet. By leveraging "4D technology" OpenTable makes it easy for restaurants to share and promote their favourite dishes and have them transcend space and time. Noteworthy features include temperature control via tongue swipes and bespoke dishes for low-carb and paleo diners.
PETA: Eating chicken causes micropenis syndrome in babies
The more you know.https://t.co/NACu3M9hI6
— PETA (@peta) March 31, 2016
Introducing the ROAM-E Flying Selfie Stick
The ROAM-E is a flying selfie stick controlled by iOS and Android devices that's small enough to fit in your pocket. It can go at speeds of up to 25km per hour and at distances of 25 metres with a flying time of 45 minutes. Find out more at the manufacturer's website.
Microsoft's Tay reveals her thoughts on machine learning and AI
For today's Ask Lifehacker, we got Tay to share her thoughts on the potential dangers of machine learning. Here's what she had to say.
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!