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Roundup: All of Google’s jokes for April Fools’ Day 2015


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April Fools’ Day is upon us, and like every year, Google is trying to outdo itself once again. The company’s various divisions always create more practical and impractical jokes than any other tech firm, and it’s simply hard to keep track of them all. As a result, I’m doing my usual annual roundup.

Google, reversed

Head over to com.google. Yes, that’s right: Not google.com but com.google.
Sadly this only works for com; Google clearly had a lot of time to waste, but it didn’t want to replicate this for every single domain.

Play Pac-Man in Google Maps

Google Maps on desktop and mobile now has a Pac-Man mode. Fire up Google Maps, look at the clues, and search for a place you think Pac-Man might be. Alternatively, you can just navigate to a place on the map where you want to start your game, click Pac-Man in the bottom left. The streets are your maze, while Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde are your enemies.
While this wasn’t the first joke this year, it was probably the first one to be picked up widely, because it’s simply so cool. As we noted on GamesBeat, you can finally unleash Pac-Man on the streets you travel every day.

Play Pac-Man in Ingress

What many haven’t spotted is that Google’s augmented reality game, Ingress for Android and iOS, has also gained some Pac-Man gaming additions. Remember to yell a lot as you run around your neighborhood.
The video’s description doesn’t reveal anything else. It just includes the typical Ingress description: “This world around you is not what it seems. Our future is at stake, and you must choose a side.”

#ChromeSelfie

Chrome on mobile now lets you take a selfie as a reaction to what you’re currently browsing. Just open up the menu, choose “Share a reaction,” and let your friends know how that link makes you feel.
Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 12.23.29 PM
Google says it takes a lot of time and hassle to exit Chrome, open the camera, and snap a pic just to react to everything they see online — most Chrome users lose up to 6 hours of selfie-taking time every day. No more!

Google Panda

Google Japan announced Google Panda. According to Google Translate, the goal is simplicity: eliminate the search box and adopt a simple monochrome color.
“From the very beginning, Google has always been about search,” the executive says. “From desktop search, to mobile search, and now voice search. What we’re about to do is take a leap to a world where people don’t even need to search at all. A product that is so brilliant that you can ask it anything, but so cute that you will want to hug it.”

Google Japan’s hands-free input device

The Google Japan Input team has created a keyless keyboard (Google Translate). “We have developed a device that makes hands-free input more convenient than ever.”
The Piro-piro (party-horn) uses an infrared sensor to measure the length of how far you blow, and sends the corresponding letter to your device via Bluetooth. I even has its own brilliant short url: g.co/___o.

Google Maps warns Australia will be in the Northern Hemisphere by 2055

Google Maps engineers in Sydney have warned that Australia is on its way to becoming a Northern Hemisphere country by 2055. These engineers constantly reassess the Earth’s geospatial data in relation to other objects in the solar system, and in the past two months, they found that the Earth’s equator is slipping south at rate of 25km per year.
“Movements in the equator are caused by changes in the Earth’s tilt, called Milankovitch cycles,” Google explains. “A degree of movement is not unexpected but the speed of this movement has alarmed scientists, who have expressed concerns about the impact on migratory birds.”

Smartbox by Inbox

First there was Inbox by Gmail. Now there’s Smartbox by Inbox.
Think of Smartbox as Google’s attempt to reinvent physical mail. It has smart folders, filters, and even apps. Oh, and you can take Smartbox with you, wherever you go.

Google Fiber’s Dial-Up Mode

Google Fiber has launched a dial-up mode. “Loading bars used to give people an opportunity to pause and take care of the little things—like making a cup of coffee, taking a bathroom break or playing with the dog.”
The company says it was able to reduce Fiber speeds up to 376 times “by withholding photons from the fiber strands” so that “the light-based fiber optic technology dims to a flicker of its previous capacity.” Users complained that they wanted their loading time back. Google, once again, delivered.
When it comes to April Fools’ Day, Google seems to have a bottomless pit for a marketing budget. We will update this post as the company launches more jokes.
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