Google takes April Fools' Day seriously. Over the years, the search engine has rolled out Easter eggs and extremely on-brand pranks on April 1 — and 2017 is no different. Google revived an old favorite for April Fools' Day, plus spoofed some of its newer technology.
I am fairly convinced that there is an entire team of Google engineers specifically dedicated to the one day a year when tricking everyone is encouraged. Google goes beyond fake news stories or announcements, turning their products that have become a part of our everyday lives into one giant prank.
But our collective dependence on Google's offerings has gotten them into trouble while pranking. When you hit last year's "Gmail Mic Drop," which was next to the send button, it inserted a GIF of a minion from Despicable Me dropping the mic. Harmless enough, right? Well, the other part of the feature is that it instantly muted all of the replies to the conversation — giving you the last word.
Many users didn't realize that they were using the "Mic Drop" feature, which caused some professional slip ups. As one user posted to the Google help forum:
Thanks to Mic Drop I just lost my job. I am a writer and had a deadline to meet. I sent my articles to my boss and never heard back from her. I inadvertently sent the email using the "Mic Drop" send button. There were corrections that needed to be made on my articles and I never received her replies. My boss took offense to the Mic Drop animation and assumed that I didn't reply to her because I thought her input was petty (hence the Mic Drop). I just woke up to a very angry voicemail from her which is how I found out about this "hilarious" prank.
Google didn't back away from pranking this year, but they seem to be in places less ubiquitous than Gmail. In 2015, Google turned Google Maps into Pac-Man, allowing you to chomp your way through surrounding streets. This year, it's Ms. Pac-Man, thank you very much. On the Google Maps homepage, you have the option of turning the streets you're navigating into the classic arcade game. It's totally addicting — just don't do it when you're driving.
The company also rolled out a furry function on its iOS app. You have the option to turn on "I'm Feeling Woof" and "I'm Feeling Meow," a spoof on the "I'm Feeling Lucky" search. If you're feeling meow, you'll be presented with pages of fishbowls and kitty treats. If you're feeling woof, it's all frisbees and fire hydrants. Androids users get basically a pet version of fruit ninja, which is amazing.
Google also got self referential with Google Gnome, a spin off of Google Home, but for your yard specifically.
Need to know the windspeed so your selfies come out just right? Google Gnome has got you. Does your kid need a pretty brutal science lesson? Let the Gnome take care of it. Gnome also was rolled out with a slew of accessories like "Raign Gear" and "H2GnOme," ultimately proving that gnome puns will never stop being funny.
It seems like it's been another successful April Fools day for Google, but this year their jokes didn't cost someone their job (yet). Prank on, Google.