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April Fools Day is a day of pranks and on the internet it is pretty much the same. A lot of websites uses April Fools Day to, well, fool people and the biggest search engine of them all, Google, is leading the pack.

In addition to Google being a master of hiding Easter eggs and pulling pranks on April Fools Day, they also take advantage of suspicious onlookers to unsuspectingly launch real products.  I’m starting to think April 1 is Google’s favorite day of the year.  We’ve previously covered Easter eggs on the internet before, so today we’re going to cover Google pranks that were actually legitimate product launches.

  1. Gmail was launched on April 1, 2004, and it was announced just a day before that, March 31, 2004. When people read about it, they immediately dismissed it as a prank. Why? Because at that time, having a 1 gig worth of free online-based email is unheard of. I mean, why would you let people use it for free when you can charge them for it? But as it happened, it really was a launch, and there was really a 1 gig memory and yes, it was really for free.
  2. A year later, Google increased the free memory of Gmail to 2 gigs.
  3. Google once released an app called Google Ride Finder (now non-existent) which allows users to find taxies and nearby limousines through Google Maps. However, the user will only find taxies and limousines which are participants of the app.
    Google Ride Finder
  4. On April 1, 2014, Gmail’s 10 year anniversary, Google took a jab at everyone’s vanity when they launched Gmail Shelfie. This “product” allows you to use your selfie as a custom theme within your Gmail page.  Ok, so the verdict is still out if this one is for real or not.