April Fool's Day history: five best-ever pranks

April Fool's Day history has been marked by many good pranks, but here are five of the most creative ever.

By , Contributor

5. Gmail goes on auto pilot

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    The company logo is displayed at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. in November last year.
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Already viewed as one of the most innovative e-mail systems in the world, Gmail got even easier in 2009, when Google “launched” Gmail Auto Pilot. It was purported to be a service that saved you the trouble of responding to e-mails by doing it for you. Google, of course, never launched such a program, but they did provide screen shots of how it would work.

In one example, an Auto Pilot user receives a classic African prince scam email, the type in which a foreign prince has $25 million in frozen assets, and only needs your bank information to help access it. Rather than deleting the e-mail like most people would, the Gmail Auto Pilot responds cheerfully to scam e-mail, and provides its user's bank account and social security numbers.

Google has a history of April Fool's high jinks. Last year, the company changed its name to Topeka for the month of March, a nod to the Kansas capital that had changed its name to Google as part of its campaign to win super high-speed Internet access.

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