April 1st is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s the one day that the tech industry can take a good hard look at the echo chamber and make a few much-needed wisecracks. April Fools Day has become a tradition for many major tech companies to release exciting new (fake) products to fool the market. Companies like Google, LinkedIn and Roku have wasted no expense poking fun at themselves, and all of us, this year.
Here are a few of my favorite pranks from some big names in tech today:
Seasoned prankster Sir Richard Branson has been pulling April fools pranks since the late 1980s with antics like his Fake UFO landing for Virgin Records. Today, Virgin America announced an exciting partnership with Nest to offer flyers personalized climate zones within the plane. This is actually a brilliant idea; one of those ideas we wish was real.
Not to be outdone, tech giant Google has announced a number of new product releases today. My favorite was a competition to find the next Pokemon Master. iPhone and Android users can update their Google Maps to participate in a worldwide game of Pokemon where users are challenged to collect all 150 to be eligible for the fake job title of Google’s chief Pokemon Master.
Google makes my list again with the launch of Google+’s “Auto Awesome Photobombs” feature that automatically adds a David Hasselhoff photobomb to your picture uploads, so your trip to Napa won’t seem so lonely.
Toshiba also joined the fun with the announcement of their new wearable technology, “DiGiT”, a pair of gloves that incorporates all the exciting features of a smartphone right into your fingertips! Great for everyday tasks like high performance gaming, entertainment, maximizing productivity or hand dancing, “DiGiT will fit your digital life like a glove.”
LinkedIn also made headlines today with a new networking feature called “Cats You May Know”. It’s no mystery that the Internet community has a certain infatuation with our feline friends, but now thanks to LinkedIn users can connect with recommended cat contacts to fulfill their daily needs of adorable kitty pics.
AirBnB launched a clever new feature today that lets users rent out their work desks for small amounts of time. Now, employees can make a few bucks on the side by renting out their desk when they hit the gym or get stuck in that endless line at the salad bar.
As many of you know, 2013 was the year of the “Selfie”. Thanks to our friends at Orbotix, taking misleading photos of yourself at extreme angles has never been so easy! Orbotix is proud to announce their new “SelfieBot” a flying robot that follows you around and snaps pictures of everyday moments for your social media streams so all of your friends, family and the NSA can experience life as a millennial with no life.
Two of Silicon Valley’s biggest incubators joined the fun today announcing a merger between 500 Startups and Y Combinator, thus introducing 500 Combinators. In a hilarious blog post, writer Christine Tsai explains “500 Startups has already been funding YC rejects for 4 years, and we figured this was an easier way to double our helping of PG’s Sam Altman’s sloppy seconds. Together, we believe we can help twice as many white male nerdy Stanford & MIT students who look like Zuck, and already have access to everything.”
Think I missed out on some of the day’s best pranks? Comment with your favorites.
Hutch Moragne is KITE’s Startup Liaison, jokemaster and resident wiseguy.