I’m sure you’ve all seen how Google has turned itself into Topeka, Kansas today for April Fool’s. Not nearly as good a joke as some of its previous efforts, IMHO, but it’s based in enough reality to cause some people to say, “wait a second, did Topeka win the battle of the fiberoptic contest?” That’s the essence of a good April Fool’s Day joke — just enough truth to make people who are still bleary-eyed before their second cup of coffee to sit back and wonder for just a second if it could possibly be true. Combine that with a damn good idea even if it perishes from too much quirkiness, and you have the perfect hoax.
Some on this side of the ocean say that the British have no sense of humor, but they have obviously never truly appreciated the genius of Monty Python! If you want to taste some of the Brits take on April Fool’s Day jokes, the Telegraph has a couple of good articles here and here describing them all and linking to the relevant pieces. I particularly like the idea of ferrets wearing little jackets and running through tunnels helping ferret out (pun intended) problems with the ongoing broadband expansion through the British countryside.
If you want to read about some historic April Fool’s pranks, here’s a link to an article describing them run on National Geographic today. ZippyCart has a collection of the Internet-related ones. My favorite of all time? It has to be Google’s joint venture with Virgin Galactic, the “Virgle” Mission to Mars for a permanent human settlement (from April 1, 2008). The joke was so complex and complete that for those of us who think space travel is just around the corner for everyone, it was appealing and made us wish it could be true. Plus it wasn’t going to start until 2014, so of course that’s doable, right? A 100 Year Plan that you can help develop and Apply To Be A Pioneer? Perfect, especially now that you can sign up and put a down payment on actual space travel with Virgin Galactic. Of course, once you dig deeper into the mini-site it becomes obvious that you’ve been had, but it was plausible enough on the surface to keep me going for a minute or two. Of course, I hadn’t had my Starbucks Plenta-sized Caramel Macchiato yet.