April Fools' Day Gags, Pranks and Hoaxes
Loved by teenage boys and pranksters of all ages, April Fools' Day is a strange holiday. Celebrated (?) on the first of April, its also known as All Fools Day. And April Fool's Day. The origin of the holiday day and the tradition of playing pranks seems to go back to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
Some of the best practical jokes and hoaxes have been done by news sources and websites, but then there's always the co-worker who super-glues you stapler, generic souvenir mug, and tape dispenser to your desk, or the ol' "cover all surfaces of your cubicle with post it notes" joke. Then there's that hilarious guy that says everyone is going to be laid off that afternoon. Yeah, that's funny as a heart attack. Also, the "I have some bad news––I'm pregnant!" That little gem has probably ended a few relationships, especially if said by a wife whose husband had a vasectomy.
Google has pulled off a few good hoaxes over the years, the launch of "auto-pilot" being one of my favorites.
One year, if you had a Gmail account, it had a new option, named "Gmail Autopilot" in which the service would analyze an email. And then with that option, you could automatically adjust tone, amount of typos, and preferred punctuation. And it could respond to a message from a friend––for instance if someone wrote something that was aggressive or offensive, even sarcastically (which I suppose it could "detect"), the system would "terminate relationship." I think they've done a least one prank like that per year since the mid-2000s. I have to admit I fell for the 'autopilot" prank.
Update: they did it again with Google Motion today.
Wikipedia created its own hoaxes, and of course contributors used April Fools to revise entries on that day to let loose on on misinformation.
Morning radio hosts seem to also have a propensity to report false news, sometimes pretty offensive. Some have even been fired for reporting deaths and other tragedies. And apparently there was some hilarity involved when game show hosts switched shows as a prank that day. Huh?
Amazingly, it seems people fall for these hoaxes every year, forgetting the day and its tradition, flaming on message boards and calling in their outrage to radio and TV shows in pretty big numbers regarding the reports.
So, if you read this hub before tomorrow, It's just a friendly reminder to take anything said with a grain of salt. And hide your stapler tonight before you go home from work.
And lastly, I'd like to throw my hat into the ring and announce that I'm running for president, April Fools!