Two days ago was a day that comes around every year, and every year I never pay enough attention to remember what it is until somebody, or something, completely gets one over on me. April Fool's day is probably one of the best holidays for this industry, because as our own Evan so rightfully pointed out it's basically like April Fool's day every day of the year here. Rumors, hush-hush talks, and predictions are always ablaze around these parts and of course April Fool's Day was no different, except for the fact that the rumors should always be taken in with a grain of salt even more so on that day in order not to get your hopes up and dreams crushed.
Google has always had a decent sense of humor behind the company. From their very workplace you can see that the company seems to really care about the environment of their employees, calling new Google Employees "Nooglers", or "new Googler" (how cute is that?) so it comes as no surprise that they enjoy taking part in April Fool's Day charades as much as the next guy does.
The pranks from Google this year were enjoyable. There was Google Nose, the Google database that supposedly transmit smells from your device straight to your nose without ever having to seek it out. I tried Google Nose out for myself from my phone and while I couldn't get "Lemon" or "New Car" to work, "Mobile Phone" actually came through for me and smelled about like I expected it to. Another prank from Google was a statement in the form of a video saying that after eight wonderful years, Google is finally ready to "pick a winner" from YouTube and would shut down the website at midnight of April 2nd, insinuating that YouTube has just been one big video contest throughout its entire existence. The winner would be picked some time over the next ten years, and in the year 2023 YouTube would again resurface only playing the one video that won. Pfft, yeah right. Nice try Google, I'm not falling for that one.
Admittedly, however, there was one prank that stood out to me. I actually believed this prank was something real until a quarter of the way through, and that probably has something to do with the fact that Google did a very good job emulating how the technology industry exploits advertising techniques by using big words and relaxing new wave music. Gmail Blue actually seemed like a real thing for a minute.
Before anybody says that I'm completely gullible (I am, and I know this) you have to keep in mind that the actual Gmail client was released on April Fool's Day in 2004, so whatever "Gmail Blue" was could have actually been a real product. However, I didn't make the initial correlation between "Gmail Blue" and "Windows Blue", something that would have tipped me off that it was a prank a lot sooner. Google basically combined Windows Blue and a stereotypical Apple commercial and mashed them together to make one ridiculous and almost believable product - especially if you don't have a strong sarcasm sensor.
The joke was probably the best executed out of any other prank this year simply for the fact that it hits home for how advertising for gadgets and software are pitched to us. They're cheesy as ever, but they make it sound like it's something nobody would ever think of; it's presented in a way that makes you think the product is just that great. You think "Gmail Blue" would be some complex and interesting new product from Google, but after the first 40 seconds the commercial shows the product's "true color", if you will - it's really just Gmail, only bluer.
Remind you of anything? I'll let you come up with your own conclusion.
It's fascinating to me how advertising plays such an important part in whether we want a product or not. Talk any product up and somebody is bound to give it notice. I've mentioned this once or twice when it comes to HTC - you can only be quietly brilliant for so long, because nobody notices the brilliance when you're that quiet (although I hear they plan on ditching that slogan somewhat soon). So while "Gmail Blue" seems like a ridiculous product that would never get that kind of attention, it's actually not that far-fetched from other popular products we see on the market today (I'm looking at you, Apple!)
Within every “Just kidding!” there’s usually a little truth.
Images via Google