Google's Elaborate April Fools' Day Jokes Are No Laughing Matter

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As per usual, Google put out various, elaborate April Fools' Day jokes, which only reminded everyone how much time and money the tech company has to spend on projects that aren't core products like, ahem, Google Reader. For those too busy to follow along, The Next Web has a running list of the myriad pranks. And while some of the antics, like the pirate treasure map, are harmless and cute, others hit too close to home.

The end of YouTube, for example, tries to make light of the fact that Google often kills beloved products. (R.I.P Reader.) But that's not a laughing matter to plenty of people on Twitter.  "Imagine a world where Google dedicated 10 percent of the effort it has spent on April Fools' Day jokes on Google Reader. Can you imagine it? I can," writes The Verge's Dieter Bohn. Even worse, the tricks got people hoping that some of Google's stranger moves over the last few years—like the death of Reader and the current, or the very strong push for Google Glass—are all big pranks. The Internet can dream. Fun side projects used to be part of Google's brand and its policy of letting employees spend 20 percent of their work time on whatever they want became a management book case study after it was given credit for creating things like Gmail. But now, the nearly dozen of coded Internet tricks have become symbols more of money than freewheeling innovation. 

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While some might chalk all this anti-Google negativity to a little April Fools' Day curmudgeonliness, other April 1 pranks have gone over better than "Google Blue"—which pokes at Microsoft blue, by making everything blue—and the like. If you sign onto Netflix today, for example, you will see this poke at the overly specific viewing categories it suggests:


See, it's funny and doesn't remind us of all the reasons we hate Netflix. (Like that time it raised prices.) Google could perhaps learn a little bit of this subtlety for next year. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.