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Google’s April Fools pranks: what they reveal

Google’s April Fools pranks: what they reveal

Google is well known for its commitment to the human side of search. It’s a company that has an entire art department dedicated to developing arty interpretations of its own logo, after all. So, when April Fool’s Day came around recently, no-one was really surprised when Google led the field.

The search engine company released an impressive number of quite complicated pranks, from an advertisement for autocompleters to manually type autocomplete suggestions, to the ‘Chromercise’ finger workout video (complete with Chrome ‘finger warmers’), to the celebration of YouTube’s 100th birthday, which featured sepia versions of popular YouTube virals. Many of these pranks were lighthearted witticisms, intended to make the days of those working computer and SEO jobs a little brighter. What is interesting though, is what some of these pranks revealed about the company.

Take, for example, the announcement of ‘Gmail Motion,’ which would allow users to control their inbox with body movements. Although the fake announcement was greeted with mirth by programmers from Cheshire to Cornwall, there were many details that indicate that at least someone at Google has been thinking about the potential for webcam use in internet programs. Another prank, YouTube’s elaborate ‘1911-vintage’ videos, is a very strong indication of YouTube’s ambition as a media channel, one that controls content rather than simply acting as host.

Google’s aim with the many April Fool’s pranks may have been to work its way into the hearts of its many users. In devoting itself to wit however, the company has given SEOs more than just a laugh.

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