April Fools’ Day 2017: the best (and worst) pranks

April Fools’ Day 2017: the best (and worst) pranks

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April 1st — a day colloquially known as “April Fools’ Day” or “the worst holiday ever” — isn’t even until tomorrow, but because the month of April starts on a Saturday this year, all the #brands are already out in force to pollute the internet celebrate the occasion with a bunch of tiresome fun pranks meant to thirstily self-promote their products bring some levity into our day-to-day lives.

So, as is tradition, we’ve rounded up the best goofs, gags, and gimmicks from around the web as we enjoy the antics of the various internet companies. And remember — if you see something tomorrow (or today, even though it’s still not even April Fools’ yet!) that sounds a little bizarre, strange, or too good to be true, it might be worth a second glance.

We’ll continue to keep this list updated through the day(s) as more clever (or “clever”) jokes emerge.

Google

Image by Natt Garun / The Verge

Google tends to have a ton of (oddly functional) April Fools’ jokes, so for the sake of this list, I’m only including one for now.

Of all Google’s pranks this year, the conversion of Google Maps into a functional game of Ms. Pac-Man is probably the best of them, if only because Ms. Pac-Man is a fantastic game. That said, Google did do this exact same thing with regular Pac-Man two years ago, so it’s possible the company might be running out of ideas.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile’s April Fools’ joke was the T-Mobile ONEsie — because its latest plan is called T-Mobile One and onesies allow for a semi-clever portmanteau and okay you get it. The company claims that the Onesie is a full-body wearable packed with a variety of dubious tech, including thermal charging, nanofibers, and fitness tracking, which is obviously nonsense. I’m also deducting points for the entire concept, since Microsoft beat them to the One / onesie joke by a couple of months. Still, T-Mobile is actually selling the things for $40 each (sans-fictional tech, of course), should a bright magenta T-Mobile onesie be something you desire in your life.

Hulu

Hulu’s April Fools’ gimmick is an alleged new service called “Hu,” which promises “TV abbreviated” by cutting down shows to just eight seconds to better match people’s shortened attention spans. To that end, the company has actually put together several playlists on both its own site and YouTube (for non-subscribers) of dramatically shortened episodes of Seinfeld, Black Sails, The Mindy Project, Empire, and others to show off the idea.

Master & Dynamic

Master & Dynamic is best known for it’s premium metal and leather headphones, and for its bit of April humor the company teased a pair of its MH40 Wireless On-Ear model made entirely out of concrete. Weighing in at a purported 10.6 pounds, the concrete cans are probably infeasible for, you know, wearing. Also, like everything else on this list, they’re not real.

Lyft

Lyft made a very weird decision this April Fools’ Day by announcing a wacky, Power Glove style gadget to summon rides by raising your hand in the air, but also made them actual, real devices that are fully functional? So, not sure this is actually a “prank,” per-say. For more info, see my colleague Andrew Hawkins, who tried it out for himself.

Netflix

Netflix’s marking of the day took the form of “Netflix Live,” a remarkably peaceful video of Will Arnett narrating ordinary objects. Is it a joke? Deeper satire on live video trends? Who can say. Fellow Verge reporter Megan Farokhmanesh has the full details if you’d like to know more.

Reddit

Reddit’s April Fools’ joke is less of a joke and more of a giant social experiment, similar to last year’s The Button. This year’s project, titled Place, is a large while pixel grid that each user can place a colored pixel on every five minutes. Reddit being Reddit, the grid has quickly been overtaken by a number of semi-religious cults and several crudely drawn images of genitalia, as the site’s community once again illustrates why we can’t have nice things.

Duolingo

The language learning site has made a special course for April Fools’, teaching not German or Spanish but Emoji, which might be helpful for adults trying to understand teens. And there actually is a flash card set to help you learn, so that’s something.

Amazon

Amazon has an Alexa-themed joke for the day, with a new “Petlexa” integration, that purports to make your Echo capable of understanding queries from your pets. It mostly just consists of this video, since Amazon (understandably) didn’t build a functional version of this.

(Dis-)Honorable Mentions

Not every joke is a winner. But we’ve collected a few that didn’t quite make the cut here anyway as a service to you, our dear readers, in case you’d like to verify that for yourselves.

  • The Triwa YNGVE DIY watch, which is modeled off Ikea and irritatingly not real.
  • Yo, the world’s most useless social media app, rose from the grave with a spark of wit to “announce” a mock “Yo Stories” feature.
  • Roku SnackSuggest, a mock Roku channel that suggests food to go with your content.
  • iFixit, with a fake Micro Tech Toolkit featuring even smaller tools for opening up your even smaller gadgets.
  • The Harambed — “the bed of your memes” — from Lucid Mattress. Stop. Just stop.

#gadgetbingo

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