April Fools’ frenzy: Here’s today’s top pranks around the web

small__8609429772If you’re a Google user and you open your Gmail account today, the first thing that pops up is an announcement about a new feature called Shelfie. Sounds fishy, right? Because it is. If you haven’t figured it out, Google is playing a prank, well a number of pranks actually, on all of its users. And if you’re unaware that today is April 1st, you may be one of those gullible souls who falls for its little joke and spreads the word among their peers.

If you don’t want to be duped by Google, check out the pranks the search giant has for its users today.

Gmail Shelfie


Selfie was declared as Word of the Year in 2013 by the Oxford Dictionary and Google is using the word’s fame to introduce a new feature that focuses on selfies and sharing. Google stated in a blog post that since custom themes were introduced in 2012 on Gmail, users have chosen to customize their Google accounts using their self-taken photos, or selfies, but many felt that it’s lacking one thing – the ability to share the selfie-theme to their friends. Google decided to give in and introduced the Gmail Shelfie, the SHareable sELFIE, so users can share their selfie-themes with their friends.

You can check out some trending Shelfies here, but be warned, you might not like what you see. :D


Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge


In a YouTube video, Google announced the Google Maps: Pokémon Challenge, a challenge that aims to find the Best Pokémon Master. All you need is the Google Maps app, an iOS or Android smartphone, and the will to hunt down these little critters.   If you want to know if you can be the very best, like no one ever was (I know you know the song!), just launch your Google Maps app, tap the Search, then hit the “Press Start” option beside the blue Pokéball icon.  You need to physically travel to where the Pokémons are to capture them and add them to your Pokédex.   This is a huge upgrade to last year’s treasure hunt prank.

Google Magic Hand


Announced in a YouTube video by Google Japan, the Magic Hand is a new input method for smartphones and tablets with the use of a robotic hand.  The Magic Hand is controlled by a joystick, eliminating smudges on screens, and for times when you just don’t feel like touching your smartphone or tablet.

You can choose different designs for the hand itself such as one using the pointer finger or pinky finger to touch the device’s screen, or one designed as a paw.  The hands are interchangeable and you can even fit a backscratcher to the Magic Hand to reach those hard to reach places.  If you’re more comfortable with using a keyboard as an input method, you can easily plug one to the base of the joystick.  And for a true mobile experience, Magic Hand comes in a necktie-like design to allow users to text while walking, leaving their other hand to hold a cup of coffee or their bag.

Google Translate Emoji


Google announced that Google Translate for Chrome on iOS and Android devices now supports Emoji.  This means you can now read web content using efficient and emotive illustrations, instead of cumbersome text.   Because reading words is just too mainstream.  To use this new feature, launch the Chrome app, tap on the menu icon and select the “Translate to Emoji” option.  To go back to the original page, just tap Reload.


Auto Awesome Photobomb


Google+’ Auto Awesome feature delivers fun surprises to make your photos come to life.  A burst of photos

can be converted to an animated GIF, or a series of photos can turn into a photobooth-style collage.  Because of its awesomeness, the Google+ team added a new feature that places celebrities to your photos, the Auto Awesome Photobomb.  To kick things off, Photobomb launched with +David Hasselhoff, everyone’s favorite crime-fighting rockstar lifeguard.  Just upload a new photo on Google+ but make sure there’s room for the Hoff, in case he wants to photobomb you.  You can mention The Hoff in your post or add the hashtag #Hoffsome, and maybe, just maybe, he’ll drop in and say hi.




Google acquired Waze and Nest, and it seems teams from both companies all have funny bones in their bodies.

Nest and Virgin America


Nest has teamed up with Virgin America and their CEOs announced that by the end of 2014, the Nest Learning Thermostat will be seamlessly integrated in the seat back of both first class and the main cabin across the entire Virgin America A320 fleet.  The first to get Nest Thermostats and Total Temperature Control will be routes serving Boston and Newark from both San Francisco and Los Angeles.  This means personalized Nest-controlled microclimate right in your seat.  You can use your smartphone to control Nest, has a feature that mimics the temperature of your destination, and if you’re a Virgin Elevate member, your seat will automatically adjust to your prefered position, aside from changing the temperature, the moment you set foot on the plane.



Waze announced that it has acquired Israeli social enterprise software SingleSpotter and the subsequent launch of WazeDates. SingleSpotter’s patented algorithm monitors all smartphone activity, measuring indicators that are most common among single mobile users, including Facebook relationship status, multiple vacation and happy hour listings within the phone’s calendar, frequent use of taxi apps during peak dating hours, unusually small food delivery orders, and unusually high frequency of pet accessory purchases.  Its Single Predictor has an accuracy rate of nearly 57 percent and will be used to allow drivers to take control of their social or love life with is incorporation to Waze.  SingleSpotter’s lone employee, Israeli entrepreneur Ani Boded, will become Sr. Director of Behavior at Waze.

WazeDates will alert drivers to other likely singles on the road nearby, and users can adjust preferences to search for drivers based on age, sex, orientation and more.  Once a desirable driver is found, users simply invite them to a destination by sharing their ride, or use Map Chat to say hello.

main photo credit: tomylees via photopin cc