While other brands might just do one or two jokes, Google goes all out for April Fools’ Day. It’s a very serious and long-running affair with major product teams partaking in fun feature announcements. April 1, 2019 falls on a Monday, with many of the pranks beginning to appear on Sunday.
Be sure to join us for live breaking coverage of all the shenanigans from Google, Alphabet, and the rest of the tech industry. Meanwhile, here’s a recap from past years: 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. The newest updates are at the bottom of each section.
From Google and Alphabet:
Heading to calendar.google.com/?playagame will load a classic — and cathartic — game of Space Invaders where you can “clear your meetings one by one with laser share procession.” In addition to fake events, your actual appointments will appear in the stream coming towards you.
The game is rather detailed with the Google Calendar icon in the top-left corner noting your current score, while the sound effects are amazing (play with sound on). Users can position their blaster with arrow keys or a mouse and click/press the space bar to blast. The onslaught (metaphor) of Calendar events gets harder with each level.
“To get your daily dose of 90s nostalgia,” Google Maps this week features a built-in game of Snake. Google Maps for Android and iOS gets a new themed overflow menu and red dot to highlight the experience in the navigation drawer.
Of course, it is geography-themed with users able to play in Cairo, São Paulo, London, Sydney, San Francisco, Tokyo, or the world. Users swipe in the four cardinal directions to simulate a D-Pad and control the growing subway, double-decker, train, or street car. This experience is also available (after this week) as a standalone site.
Files by Google
The “Clean” tab in Files today advertises a new “Screen cleaner” tool that can “wash away smudges and polish your screen.” The cute Files mascot — complete with a squeegee, hard hat, safety harness, and tether — will ricochet down your phone as if it were a tall glass building to remove fingerprints and other dirt.
Behind the scenes, Files uses a Smudge Detector API — which leverages “geometric dirt models” — to identify physical imperfections. Haptic micromovement generators are then used to dislodge dirt and smudges. Once clean, microvibrations work to form a long-lasting, non-stick shield.
Google Netherlands is a yearly April Fools’ participant and for 2019 announced Google Tulip. Using machine learning, Google Assistant can now understand tulips, which speak “Tulipish.” In fact, the company created a smart pot that listens to plants and interacts with Google Home devices.
Besides a consumer gadget to help maintain your plants, Google Tulip can also be deployed in larger settings, like gardens. This experience can be accessed today on any Assistant device by commanding Google to “Talk to tulip translator.”
Gboard Spoon Bending
Google Japan created a spoon that can be used to input text depending on how far you bend it back. It continues in the tradition of language/Gboard-based products from the country.
Google’s MVNO in the U.S. consists of T-Mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular, while international coverage is provided by Three in over 200 countries and regions. Fi is now available at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
You’ll feel a ~wave~ of emotions about this news—you’re now covered on Fi at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. 🌊 pic.twitter.com/da34B5LDEh
— Google Fi (@googlefi) April 1, 2019
In addition to Waymo One, Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle division is launching Waymo Pet to chauffeur around your “furry, feathery, and scaly friends.” The experience is customized for each animal with cats getting a laser light show, while hamsters get a wheel to run around in. Dogs obviously get to stick their heads out of windows, while birds see the Chyrsler Pacifica protectively covered in newspaper.
From the tech industry:
Over the weekend, the “T-Mobile Phone BoothE” could be found in New York, Washington DC, and Seattle to “take private calls, project to a big screen, and enjoy devices free of distractions.” Features include Worry-Free Charging, Magenta Pages, Social Mode, and Next-Gen Soundproofing. This physical contraption’s name also pokes fun — because John Legere — at AT&T’S 5G E rebranding of 4G LTE.
Monoprice’s newest product line is the “Monolith Cassette Series.” Proclaiming that the “Tape is Back,” it features a Boombox, Cassette Player, and Recorder.
Roku’s Press Paws Remote makes the smart TV box accessible to pets as “72% of Roku owners surveyed believed that their dogs would enjoy TV more if they could use the remote themselves to control what they watch.” Paw-friendly features include Animal-Themed Shortcut Buttons, Bark Assistant Technology, and Built in Sub-WOOFer.
Apple canceled AirPower on Friday, but that is not stopping dbrand from selling Skins & Wraps for the ambitious wireless charging pad. At $4.01, it comes in a wide swath of colors and materials. As for actual uses today:
Stick them on your coffee table to spark conversations around your irresponsible purchase decisions. Put them on your floor vents for affordable climate control. Better yet – cover up any wall outlet to instantly make it 100% wireless.
Lawnchair took the classic route of setting Comic Sans as the default font in its Android launcher for April 1st.
Lawnchair replaced all fonts w/ comic sans MS for today, if you didn't notice yet! pic.twitter.com/gKf38H64pT
— Lawnchair (@lawnchairapp) April 1, 2019
Astronaut Scott Kelly and SodaStream announced a portable version of it home carbonation system. Instead of using replaceable CO2 canisters, SodaStreamME allows users to blow their excess carbon dioxide into a portable bottle to fizz up water.
The streaming service renamed its flagship playlist for April Fools’ today.
How's your Discocover Weekly today? 🕺
— Spotify (@Spotify) April 1, 2019