Ah, Sunday was that time of the year again -- when tech companies put down their latest passions and conspire to become the cleverest trickster of all. April Fools' Day is becoming the Christmas of inspired ideas for tech companies, when imaginations let go of business plans.
With real life veering so close to fiction these days, it's often hard to tell immediately what's a joke on that day. For instance, some may have thought that reports on Sunday of a bus-size meteor that veered close to Earth was one of the more frightening jokes, but that one was true.
However, there were undoubtedly immediate suspicions about a new video posted Sunday on Nascar.com. Calling the report "a news update," NASCAR announced it was working with Google to bring the search-engine giant's genuine autonomous vehicle technology to NASCAR racing by the middle of next season. Fortunately for the livelihood of race car drivers, that future is not yet upon us.
One wonders if the geniuses at Google have way too much time on their hands, since jokes were blossoming from the technology leader like mushrooms after a spring rain. Chrome launched its Multitask Mode, so users can "browse the web with multiple cursors at the same time, so you can get more done, faster." This "ambinavigation revolution," where you can use as many mice as your computer can handle, will, the company said, allow you to "purchase land while you meet the love of your life."
But, you say, what I really need is a full keyboard on a smartphone. Apparently, Google's April Fools department was listening. It "announced" Gmail Tap, which, instead of a cumbersome conventional keyboard, has two keys for Morse Code's dots and dashes. And, if you love Morse Code but want to join the ambinavigation revolution, a multitasking mode supports two Morse Code keyboards simultaneously.
Supporting Google's April Fool's Day assault, the Google Chrome AdBlock extension took to showing cat pictures in lieu of blocked ads.
Teleporting, Rotary Phones
Google also demonstrated pixilated, 8-bit renditions of its Google Maps, in an echo of the old, and beloved, Nintendo Entertainment System. And there was the new Google Fiber Bar, an homage to the company's reported efforts to build a fiber optic network that, instead, provides a nutrient-rich fiber cereal bar.
A click-to-teleport extension from the Google Inside AdWords Group allows advertisers to transport customers to the physical store containing the described product. Unfortunately, the return teleporting function is still under development. (continued...)