This year's best online April Fools' Day jokes

Better watch out: the interwebs are joining in on the April Fools' festivities. Check out some of these prank pages and announcements by some of the biggest names on the Web.

Google is celebrating April Fools' Day with a beta treasure-hunting map service. Users are encouraged to explore the ancient maps and search for treasure, but they are also warned against pirates.

YouTube says it will shut down at midnight, Twitter decides to start charging for vowels, and Imgur is shifting to snail mail.

Just kidding. Today the Internet celebrates April Fools' Day with a hodgepodge of online pranks and fake announcements.

YouTube was among the first to kick off the holiday with a video announcing it would shut down at midnight after selecting the best video in the world.

In honor of the festivities, YouTube and “The Onion” paired up to create a video in which YouTube founders and celebrities recounted the last eight years and their quest to find the best video. YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar said he enjoyed spending the time reviewing the content, which he estimated was 70 hours worth of footage each minute.

Antoine Dodson, who became an Internet celebrity after being interviewed about a “bed intruder” in his home in Huntsville, Ala., suggests the world take advantage of what little time it has left with YouTube.

“We are all story tellers," he says in the video. "That’s what pulled me into this contest. You know, like stories of how to Photoshop and stories about 'The Hobbit trailer HD.’ I encourage everyone to watch as many videos as possible before YouTube deletes everything tonight.”

Other YouTube celebrities include Matt Harding of “Where the Hell is Matt? 2012,” Rafi Fine of “KIDS REACT TO GRUMPY CAT,” and Harry and Charlie Davies-Carr of “Charlie bit my finger – again!” 

In the spirit of 2005, YouTube decided it would award the winner an mp3 player that clips to your sleeve and $500 stipend for your next creative endeavor.


Google is celebrating with a makeover to Google maps and a groundbreaking feature. The treasure-hunting maps allow users to explore 2D hand-drawn landmarks and search for hidden treasure chests. Note that Google warns against pirates.

The other beta feature introduced today is Google Nose. That’s right, now you can find out what a new car or Elvis’ feet smell like, if you really, really want, by clicking the “smell” button on Google search.

“Our task as designers is to get our users the information they’re searching for as quickly and as beautifully as possible,” says user experience designer Lena Carddeal in a video. “But until now we couldn’t give our users what they’re looking for because sometimes they’re not looking at all.”

The page shows scratch-and-sniff books, Foodles (food-related Google doodles), the self-driving new car smell, and other items. With the “scratch-and-sniff technology,” Google Books Search brings “The Cheese Companion” and “Gorillas in the Mist” to life like never before.

The Guardian newspaper took after Google with its latest product. The U.K. newspaper introduced Guardian Goggles, interactive spectacles that would present articles, reviews, and statistics about objects in the user’s line of vision. These spectacles would guide Guardian readers through their daily lives and even serve as Big Brother for big media, barring the user from reading the competition (the video shows the googles actually blacking out the newsprint as the reader attempts to read the rival paper).


And then there’s Twitter, who reports it is shifting to a two-tiered service: one with no vowels called “Twttr” and one with access to vowels for $5 a month. Twttr would prohibit users from using any vowel except for Y.  On the bright side, the vowels in URLS will be free for everyone, as well non-Latin characters-based languages like Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, or Korean.

Twitter even included a website to help users with the transition: automatically removes the vowels from your tweets.

But that’s not all. Twitter also offered a single-character extension, for those who just have to have 141-character tweets. The cost of the extra character would be based on a bidding system reflecting the popularity of the character you would like to add.

The icing on the cake came from Imgur, who says on its website that it will start accepting submissions through snail mail.

“With the rise of the hipster, we were forced to ask ourselves, ‘How can we attract the film camera user?’” the website reads. “It became evident to us that a more non-traditional type of uploading is necessary to appeal to a broad user base.…”

Naturally, Imgur relied on GIFs to explain the company's reasoning, showing a young woman going crazy as she fails to figure out how to upload a photo online (looks like she's never heard of a scanner).

Imgur users were encouraged to print their digital images and mail it to Imgur’s postal address. The web address would be sent to the user two or three weeks later (though Imgur notes it will not be held liable for images lost in the mail.

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