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.
- 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.
- A year later, Google increased the free memory of Gmail to 2 gigs.
- 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.
- 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.