8 Bit Google Maps and More of Google’s 2012 April Fool’s Day Pranks
Every April Fools Day, Google turns the web into its own personal "Hogan's Alley" by unleashing a stream of very clever, very real looking and very expensive pranks. If you had several hundred billion in the bank and the world's ear, you'd do the same thing.
This year was no exception. They launched a series of very funny pranks throughout the weekend that promised big plans for the site that sadly will never come to fruition.
First up, Google partnered with NASCAR to fake-announce they were entering their own car in the white hot motorsport. Not only would the car be covered with Google logos and decals including a rear bumper that reads "I'm steering lucky!", but the car would also come with one more notable Google-esque feature.
GMail users were also shocked to discover that Google found an interesting new way to make typing easier for them. The new "GMail Tap" feature announced it would allow e-mailers to do away with all of those annoying letters, numbers and punctuation marks on their keyboards by simply allowing them to type their messages with a series of dots and dashes. Yep, it's Google Morse Code or maybe we should start calling it Google Code.
Chrome users got a strange announcement about a new multitasking feature for their favorite browser. It seems that in these days of increased productivity and decreased hiring, we're being asked to do the jobs of multiple people. So it makes sense that Google would introduce a feature that allows you to do just that with their browser.
The greatest and geekiest of their pranks involved their Google Maps page. Google announced they introduced a new mode to the web and smartphone app that would allow owners of the original Nintendo Entertainment System to access their map feature with a special Google Maps cartridge called "Google Maps 8-Bit." It's the first Google Maps app that you have to blow the dust out of through your shirt to get it working.
It seems, however, that not even Google is immune to becoming the victim of an April Fools gag. Forbes posted a story earlier today announcing that GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney would drop out of his inevitable run to the nomination and publicly endorse rival Rick Santorum to take his place. Google News found the story and posted it to the top of their front page, sparking a wave of reaction across the Internet. Forbes has since removed the story. Mashable caught a screeshot of the Google News page before word surfaced that the Forbes post was a phony.