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April 1, 2011 / Ryan Cohick

April Fools’ Day 2011 guide to online pranks

It’s that time of year again: April 1. The day when the Internet explodes with April Fools’ Day pranks. Here’s a rundown of what to watch out for this year. Be warned: If you’d rather stumble across these pranks on your own, stop reading now.


Get coffee on-the-go with Starbucks Mobile Pour

I actually like this idea. You’re walking down the street and wish you could have Starbucks. So you pull out your smartphone, order a latte and before you know it, a barista is delivering your piping hot drink via scooter. That’s what Starbucks Mobile Pour is all about. And to ensure speedy service, Starbucks plans to have two baristas for every square mile in seven of the largest cities around the country.


Google rolls out a new way to communicate with Gmail Motion BETA

The first place I point my browser to on April 1 is The search engine giant loves to play pranks. The most obvious: Gmail Motion BETA. Think XBox Kinect meets email. Now Gmailers can create, open and send emails using gestures. My favorite gesture: To send a message, lick an imaginary stamp in the air and place it on your knee.

If you love Gmail Motion, you’ll love Google Docs Motion! I would love to create spreadsheets in meetings with coworkers using gestures. At the very least, it could be an awkwardly fun ice breaker.


YouTube looks back to the year 1911

Ever wonder what the beginning of the 20th Century looked like on YouTube? Well, now you can find out! The quality wasn’t so great back then, but I guess that’s understandable considering videos were uploaded via horse-drawn carriage. Sound also didn’t exist of course, so filler music via upright piano was standard practice.

Some videos are a little stubborn and won’t play in 1911-mode, so you may have to pick around a little. Today may be the best day ever to watch Rebecca Black’s “Friday” since her annoying voice is replaced by the wonderful filler music!

Also, if you want to be a bit more nostalgic, YouTube has put together the “Top 5 Viral Pictures of 1911” for your viewing pleasure. Of course, you could always turn 1911 mode on while watching the video to make things a bit more trippy.


ABC rolls out new programming again

It was a good idea last year, and it’s even better this year: For April 1, ABC has unveiled a whole new lineup of shows that are sure to be instant hits. Take “Snooki Blue,” for example. Who wouldn’t want to watch a show with the tagline, “Orange you glad I’m a cop? Putting an ABP on the GTL”? And “Sunsheen Cleaning,” starring none other than the now infamous Charlie Sheen, sounds like a perfect train wreck of an idea to me.

Besides the six shows that rotate on the ABC homepage, there are 10 other shows worth checking out as well. I know a bunch of you would tune into “Bieber With You” and “White Castle.”


Purge people from pics with Kodak’s Relationshiffft app

“Status change? Don’t delete…Relationshiffft!” It’s that simple with Kodak’s latest innovation. The photo company offers a three-pronged approach to help you move on after ending a relationship. We’ve come a long way from that rotating carousel, huh?


Hulu travels back to 1996

The year is 1996. The future is taking off. The internet is becoming something that everyone can use and sites are starting to look really awesome. Scrolling text, high-resolution images – we had it all back then. Like YouTube, Hulu is also going nostalgic this year. You may want to view its homepage using Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. Just like the old days, the site even tells you that at the way bottom next to the view counter.

If your dial-up connection can handle it, make sure you click through to watch full episodes of these “vintage” shows. My circa-1996 stop on Hulu wouldn’t be complete without some quality time with Mulder and Scully on “The X-files.”


Funny or Die gets replaced by Friday or Die

No, seriously, you may not want to click this one. Funny or Die should come with a warning that your eyes and/or ears may bleed by visiting this site. Rebecca Black has taken over the site, which has been appropriately renamed “Friday or Die.” Between the hearts and pink layout, every featured video is now about Rebecca Black.

I don’t know about you, but I was dying to learn what the lyrics of “Friday” mean.


ThinkGeek offers up new products

I’ll admit it: Last year, I was fooled by ThinkGeek and their Dharma Initiative alarm clock. I seriously wanted one! It wasn’t until I clicked to buy one that I found out it was an April Fools’ prank.

So this year, I knew better when I headed to ThinkGeek’s homepage. I knew not to fall for Angry Bird Pork RindsStar Wars Lightsaber Popsicles and the Playmobil Apple Store Playset (the latter of which is actually a cool idea).


Other pranks on the internet (updated throughout the day)

  • Make sure you log into Linkedin today and check out the People You May Know section of your profile. I just sent connect requests to Sherlock Holmes, Ernest Hemingway and Albert Einstein.


In closing

I’m sure there are tons of other pranks out there, so be sure to check back later today for updates to this post. If you find a prank, be sure to comment about it below so that I can add it to the post.

Happy April Fools’ Day!


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