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ANSWERED on Sun 29 Mar 2009 - 9:18 pm UTC by mathtalk

Question: April Fools Gags for 2009 - please keep private until 1st April

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 27 Mar 2009 11:18 UTCFri 27 Mar 2009 - 11:18 am UTC 

Uclue Researchers, you did a great job for us last year helping to feed us ideas for our April Fools gags:

Each year we find it harder to come up with fresh gags. We're engineers, not comedians! So please do what you can.


Larry and Sergey


Roger Browne 


 27 Mar 2009 17:09 UTCFri 27 Mar 2009 - 5:09 pm UTC 

Hi Larry & Sergey,

I'd like to bounce some preliminary ideas off you to see what you think.

How about:

- Google announces support for Microsoft/Yahoo merger
- Google develops a GPS-enabled data-logging football
- YouTube to no longer show repeats
- Google acquires TinEye to replace their Image Search
- Google DNA analyses your DNA to know what websites you like
- Google to use pigeons for satellite view and street view
- Google Pets, a super-simple interface that dogs & cats can use
- Google DblClk lets you search the world's tracking data
- Sketchup models and Lively Rooms can be placed on Google Mars
- Google appoints Philipp Lenssen to oversee its blogs

Are any of these ideas worth developing?





 27 Mar 2009 21:59 UTCFri 27 Mar 2009 - 9:59 pm UTC 

Thanks Eiffel, but most of those are the kind of gags we did in previous years. Nevertheless, our Aussie guys want to run with the GPS football idea, and our Chinese group likes the pigeon idea.

This year we want to be really cool. We were thinking of something with lots of bling!

Oh, and as for TinEye, it's a sore point. We tried to buy them several times and they rebuffed us. They say they're going to trounce us with their reverse image search, and they may be right.

Also, I'm a bit worried because the TinEye guys left the room saying "just wait for April 1st". But that's not your problem of course...


David Sarokin 


 28 Mar 2009 18:47 UTCSat 28 Mar 2009 - 6:47 pm UTC 


You want bling and glitz? Seriously? On April 1st 2007, slashdot.org did "pink ponies" for the day, and that went down like the proverbial "lead balloon".

I suppose you could do "pandas" if you really want to, together with a web design the likes of which is normally found on MySpace or Bebo. Lots of cute graphics, animated images, background music, etc. I'm not sure that it's a great fit for Google's image though.

Anyway, if you want to do something a bit lighter than last year, how about this story:

Silicon and Silcone Giants Announce Merger: Google and Allergan to form new company

Mountain View, CA -- Google, Inc. today announced that it has purchased Allergan, makers of the Natrelle line of breast augmentation products.

"We see this as a perfect fit," said Google co-founder Sergey Brin.  "Google is an established leader in Silicon Valley, while Allergen is the leading maker of silicone implants." 

Larry Page, Google's other founding partner, added, "Yeah, 'perfect' is exactly right.  Allergan's clients are searching for perfection, while Google offers the perfect search...heh, heh, heh."

When asked about the single-letter difference in the spelling of silicone and silicon, Brin said, "No problem.  Our proprietary spelling algorithm has been on top of that for years."

Analysts reactions were mixed.  "This will definitely give Google a lift, and will help them stay abreast of latest trends" remarked a Morgan-Stanley analyst who follows both companies. 

A Charles Scwab analyst was less certain, labelling the merger a "cosmetic enhancement" that won't bring any fundamental change to either company.  An analyst from Citibank was even less enthusiastic. "This might look good in the short term, and firm up their prospects, but there's something that's just not natural about it.  I see a cleavage developing after a while, with sagging prospects in the long term."

The full terms of the merger were not disclosed.




 28 Mar 2009 19:59 UTCSat 28 Mar 2009 - 7:59 pm UTC 

Seriously, David? Talking about boobs on Google? Maybe in Europe, but we need to be "safe for work" for a US audience too.

The panda idea is perfect though. We'll use it as a theme to tie all our gags together.

There's just one problem. Some of our engineers came up with this geek idea of a self-aware singularity called CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity). Sounds a bit too nerdy don't you think?




 29 Mar 2009 02:20 UTCSun 29 Mar 2009 - 2:20 am UTC 


I do like the Panda idea. Why not combine it with CADIE? Let the engineers have their way with one page, and let the visual-artistic types have their way with another page!

And how about an April 1st campaign. Something ambitious:

Google attempts to bring all timezones into line so that April Fool's Day starts and finishes at the exact same moment world wide. Australia's Prime Minister refuses on the grounds that if he were not permanently one day ahead he'd never get anywhere. Besides, he may look foolish first, but he who laughs last laughs longest.


Phil Answerfinder 


 29 Mar 2009 10:05 UTCSun 29 Mar 2009 - 10:05 am UTC 

How about this:

The founders reveal that the name Google was not really created from a misspelling of Googol, but after a nonsense phrase used by an unknown Victorian actor impersonating a baby. There is actually real evidence to back this up:

In 1872, the Lela Dramatic Club, put on a production of ‘A Cure for the Heartache’ at the King’s Cross Theatre in London. The theatre critic for The Era Newspaper wrote in his review that the play featured a baby which did not appear on stage, an actor on the wings would make the appropriate sounds. The critic noted that,

"Young Rapid cries 'Push along, keep moving,' and baby answered with 'Yah, Yah, google, google;' which caused such infinite amusement."

The Era (London, England), Sunday, June 2, 1872.




 29 Mar 2009 16:03 UTCSun 29 Mar 2009 - 4:03 pm UTC 

Any truth to this story:

Mountain View, CA -- from unWired Services

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two of the investors pumping money into Tesla Motors, have revealed plans for a new line of all electric vehicles supported by 3G-based Internet advertising placement.

Termed the Model G, these SUV-style vehicles will substitute LCD screens inside and out for windshields and windows.  Onlookers will view click-thru advertisements that they are encouraged to rush up to and touch at stop lights, earning electric fuel bucks for the vehicle owners.

Inside the Model G driver and passengers will see camera views from the peripherally placed Webcams, interlaced with Google Maps displays and a Twitter-like social networking service for other Model G customers: "Where are you driving?"

In other reports Geico is said to hold a secret trademark registration on the phrase "Model G" which they hope to parlay into preferential access to this new vehicle insurance market and a combined advertising campaign featuring cavemen behind the wheel on the Internet highway.





 29 Mar 2009 19:28 UTCSun 29 Mar 2009 - 7:28 pm UTC 

OK, we've mocked up the concept, following Angy's suggestion to combine CADIE with a panda. Take a look at this page:


It's not visible to the public yet, but sign in as "cadie/panda" and you'll be able to see it. I hope you agree it has plenty of panda cuteness, animations, memes, graphics and cuteness.

Now for the dull and technical engineers' version:

and the press release:

We've dated them all March 31st. I hope that's going to be OK.

We've decided to run with CADIE as a panda. Can you give us a
few more ideas of how we can work in some other gags with that?

Time's running short, and we need to implement it.




 29 Mar 2009 21:18 UTCSun 29 Mar 2009 - 9:18 pm UTC 


Your CADIE/Panda pages look OK. You can tie them in with your other gags, using the general idea of CADIE as a self-aware autonomous problem-solver. Here are some more problems for her (?) to solve:

- Keeping up with email correspondence is always a hassle. CADIE can
  read your email and write replies for you

- Increasing the visual bandwidth of the browser by going 3D (you
  could release a fake 3D version of Chrome)

- Google mobile (I mean, CADIE) can read your thoughts if you
  put your phone to your head

- Optimise YouTube videos for viewing in the Southern Hemisphere
  by appending &flip=1 to the URL

Regarding the date: you should be able to get away with dating your announcement pages 31st March, but to be fair to readers you could use "11:59PM" for the time.

And on your gag pages, do try to use April 1st somewhere. For example, on your GPS football page why not declare it to be compliant with Australian Standard 2009-04-01?




 29 Mar 2009 21:27 UTCSun 29 Mar 2009 - 9:27 pm UTC 

Thanks guys. Here's the Gball (GPS football) page, incorporating your idea about the date code:

Here's AutoPilot for Gmail by CADIE:

CADIE has also helped with Image Search, although we seem to be getting lots of rainbows, bunnies, LOLcats and unicorns in the recommended images.

These are all linked from CADIE's blog (which you've already seen), and here's here YouTube channel:

Here's our YouTube optimization idea:
And yes, the &flip=1 parameter does really work!

CADIE is also integrated with Google Earth, and with Google Docs (where it can finish your sentences):

We still need some more help with the pigeon idea. Any takers?




 30 Mar 2009 13:43 UTCMon 30 Mar 2009 - 1:43 pm UTC 

PigeonView? No problem. Feel free to use any or all of these ideas:

PigeonView is Google's new service using trained pigeons to roam the skies. Each pigeon is fitted with a video camera to obtain real-time views of cities and streets for Google Maps.

Pigeons can swoop in low for StreetView shots too.

To enable the pigeons to work all day without a break, they gain additional power from an inductively-charged band around their leg.

Do you need help to get from A to B? Just search for the route on Google Maps and select the "pigeon pilot" option. One of our pigeons will appear, to guide you on your journey. Beware of imposters! All of our pigeons are wearing Google-logo vests.

Countering criticism by privacy advocates, Google points to their benefits in crimefighting. Should a pigeon see a crime in progress, they will eject a dropping to mark the suspects for ease of apprehension.

And anyone who wants to opt out can do so by folding an origami bird and placing it on their windowsill. The pigeons will recognise it and keep away.



Former Researcher

 1 Apr 2009 04:03 UTCWed 1 Apr 2009 - 4:03 am UTC 

After years of testing in Google Labs, today Google is proud to launch its latest creation: Google Google (http://www.googlegoogle.com).

"Leveraging the power of Google, Google Google will take internet search to a whole new level." announced Google co-founder Sergey Brin.  Fellow founder Larry Page concurred.  "Harnessing the power of the Google infrastructure towards the creation of a powerful and intuitive search engine was perhaps the greatest synergy we've ever achieved."

Using the Google backend, Google Google's simple yet effective interface allows users to search from the many billions of web pages catalogued in the Google architecture.  Another clever feature, the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button, will take the user directly to the most relevant information as determined by the Google engine.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt sees a bright future in store for Google Google.  "As a matter of fact, the Google Google infrastructure is already being developed further to bring even more amazing innovations such as Google Google Maps, Google Google Docs, and Google Google YouTube in the very near future."




 1 Apr 2009 12:12 UTCWed 1 Apr 2009 - 12:12 pm UTC 

Hey that's great mathtalk, we've used most of those ideas:

Hailstorm, sorry you're too late for this year but we'll keep it in mind for the future.

Anyway, everything's now live so I guess you can lift the embargo on this article.

Thanks again! Always a pleasure working with you guys.


David Sarokin 


 1 Apr 2009 12:30 UTCWed 1 Apr 2009 - 12:30 pm UTC 

What! No tip! 

You guys do know the limit's been raised to $400...

...billion, that is!





 1 Apr 2011 06:03 UTCFri 1 Apr 2011 - 6:03 am UTC 

Here's your tip, David:

Look both ways before you cross the road!


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