Today is the one day of the year when our beloved internet go-to is not to be trusted. Google has won the loyal trust of its users over the years, but with such hard work comes equally enthusiastic play... every year we are reminded that Google is the master of April Fools.
With such pranks as Google Nose, Virgle and Google Translate for animals, the company has been annually ramping up the stakes, with a total of 13 jokes last year (14 for 2014?). A few of this year's jokes were released ahead of April 1st, and we were ecstatic to hear that, once again, Google Maps was the victim of choice. Pairing the magic of augmented reality with the magic of the '90s, Google has released the Pokémon Challenge − the first step in a series of tests to fill Google's new "Pokémon Master" job position.
Although not officially released by Google, there has also been an additional Maps hack just in time for the April festivities. Created by the marketing/prankster duo Venour and Kakhiel from the Netherlands,Google Naps is a crowdsourced map that points you toward the perfect spot to take a snooze in your vicinity. Users submit suggestions such as benches, libraries and scenic spots with ocean views, complete with comments and tips. Secretly, we hope this one sticks around, at least till summer comes around..
Google Naps screenshot.
This isn't the first year that Google Maps has been the subject of a prank from the team. The platform has had a long history of jokes and easter eggs, even since it's launch in 2005. In celebration of all the Google April Fools jokes, we have taken a quick look back at memorable Google Map shenanigans.
The "Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity" was launched across a multitude of Google's platforms, making an appearance on Gmail, Google Books, and Google Code, as well as both Google Maps and Google Earth.
CADIE was generous enough to leave "CADIE's recommended places for humans" for Google Maps, while her appearance on Google Earth outlined CADIE's summer vacation, with an option to tour the seas with her and the "world's most advanced submarine", as well as just chat and soar with CADIE on a more casual level
CADIE on the Map. Image via Isaac Bowman.
Google China also released a Google Pigeon Watch Specification for April Fools that referenced CADIE. Image via blogoscoped.
2011: Creatures around the world
In 2011, a number of creatures were unleashed on Google Maps and Google Earth for April Fools, including a dragon in Germany's Pfälzer Wald forest, a pink elephant at the Googleplex HQ, a narwhal in the Thames and the Loch Ness monster in its infamous lake. Two-dimensional illustrations were visible in standard map-view, but the beast was also featured in an impressive 3D version when viewed in Earth Mode.
Some of the creatures from Google Maps in 2011. Image via maptd.
Loch Ness monster in Google Maps.
Read more Google Maps pranks on Architizer.com