John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

New from Google Labs: Google April Fools Overkill

sharkattackIf 2008 (or 2007, 06, 05, 04…) was the year April Fools on the Web jumped the shark, then 2009 was the year it was eaten by it. The Web is so overburdened with pranks this year, it may be that the best April Fools announcement of all proves to be Palm’s–a company promising to deliver real news and not some over-thought hoax. Google alone has posted no fewer than 12 pranks–and none of them match Pigeon Rank in wit.

First the company gave us CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity), an “artificial intelligence” tasked-array system with the personality of a 12-year-old girl and accompanied by its own homepage, YouTube channel, blog, monograph and versions of Google Earth and Google Maps. And to these, Google has added Google LOLCODE, Google Brain Search, Google Chrome with 3-D and a new Gmail auto-reply feature. The search giant also announced a new upside-down viewing option for YouTube and an automatic red-eye function for Picasa.

Overkill? Maybe, just a little. Google (GOOG), of course, wasn’t alone in pumping the Web full of pranks. Seems people with Web sites everywhere fancy themselves Don Rickles today. began taking reservations for rooms on the Moon. And Expedia (EXPE) began offering flights to Mars. Microsoft (MSFT) renamed its Kumo search product Omuk and unveiled Alpine Legend for Xbox 360. Some angry librarians staged a Kindle burning in a Los Angeles park. Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst Media appointed Gary Busey as Director of Human Resources. Torrent index The Pirate Bay partnered with the hopelessly litigious Warner Bros. The Guardian adopted an all-Twitter publishing model. Gizmodo was taken over by spam overlords. Amazon (AMZN) launched a brand new cloud-computing dirigible called Floating Amazon Cloud Environment, or FACE. Yahoo (YHOO) debuted an Ideological Search. And, finally, Qualcomm (QCOM) took convergence a bit too literally.

There are plenty of others, of course, far too many to mention here, and most of them unworthy of that mention in the first place. As Good Morning Silicon Valley aptly notes, “The sad fact is that pranks are like fireworks–once amateurs get to fiddling around with them, somebody’s going to end up lame.”

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— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle