April Fools’ Day 2011 Pits Google Pranksters Against YouTube

April Fools’ Day 2011 is a prankster’s greatest holiday. On the Internet, April Fools’ Day is traditionally a big occasion for Google and YouTube to joke around. For their 2011 pranks, YouTube has gone back in time, while Google made a new addition to their Gmail service. Even though everyone knows what today is, there still may have been some people fooled by these jokes – yet it was easier for one to be more convincing than the other.

YouTube’s big stunt was in turning back the clock, and making major viral hits look like they were filmed in 1911. Apparently, the site is celebrating its 100th anniversary today, complete with the top 5 viral pictures of 1911 and an option to make any video look 100 years older.

This serves as a notable prank, although it is unlikely to actually fool anyone into believing it. For actual success in making people fall for jokes, Google has a better track record. The search engine continued its tradition this morning by introducing Gmail Motion to its e-mail service.

The option was introduced by Gmail product manager Paul McDonald, who posted a video that explained how body language would control computer commands. All someone needs is a built-in webcam to make it work, as it would make mouses completely obsolete.

It may have taken a while for readers to realize that Gmail Motion wasn’t real, but they should already know better. Yet every April Fools’ Day shows Google topping itself, as its 2011 prank rivals the “Mental Plex” of 2000, the “Pigeon Rank” of 2002, and the “Project Virgle” application to colonize Mars in 2008.

However, the website has figured out that once in a while, it needs to do something on April 1 that is actually real, in order to better fool everyone in the future. In 2004, they actually introduced Gmail for real, which was likely seen as a prank at first. But the joke was that it was for real, although controlling Gmail with one’s body is still a long ways off.

This year, however, it appears that there are no real innovations to speak of. It may be for the best, as Gmail Motion would have changed a lot, but it wouldn’t have worked for anyone who doesn’t have a webcam. Using a mouse is still a simpler option, as we only have to use one hand to make it work.

YouTube couldn’t compete with Google, though not many sites can on April Fools’ Day. So the video outlet is keeping things simple by giving users a new way to look at their favorite viral hits. But a 1911 soundtrack drowns out all of the 2011 dialogue – yet words aren’t a big part of all YouTube smashes.



Gmail Motion BETA

Metro.co.uk- “April Fools’ Day 2011: Top 5 Google April Fool jokes”

Forbes- “Gmail Motion: 5 Ways This Changes Everything Forever”