Google's foolin' you
Paul Brent, ctvottawa.ca
Published Thursday, April 1, 2010 3:37PM EDT
Massive hiring plans were unveiled today by Rebel.com and Sedona Networks of Ottawa, and Nortel announces it won't shut down completely.
Yes, the tech world is a strange one and these announcements are unexpected.
And they are also an April Fool's joke. Rebel and Sedona shut down long ago and Nortel is still headed to a full selloff of assets.
Tech is fertile ground on this day: Everything seems possible and perhaps the biggest joker of all is Google.
Almost every year since 2000 Google has posted elaborate hoaxes. It began with Mentalplex: No more typing search requests - Google could read your mind.
Last year it was CADIE - artificial intelligence - and across all Google platforms CADIE had an influence. YouTube videos were upside down and you were urged to flip your monitor over. In Australia Google announced the Gball for use in Aussie rules football. There was a 3D version of Chrome complete with a PDF of 3D glasses to print off. Gmail offered an autopilot feature to automatically compose replies for your e-mails.
In 2005 it was Google Gulp, a drink to make you smarter. In 2007 it was TiSP: A toilet-based free Internet wireless service. In 2004 Google launched Gmail (for real) and in subsequent years there have been jokes about Gmail.
For example, in 2008 Gmail was going to let you send a limited number of e-mails back in time.
Why do all this? Well, it's good publicity and Google has never shied away from that. Staff is a creative bunch who does have 20% of their work week to tackle anything that seems worthwhile.
BMW the car maker has done the same thing for years often touting new technology. Last year it was a CD for BMW owners that could perform service checks, and when flipped over played music.
Expedia, MSN, Amazon and many other tech firms and websites now join in the fun and a little searching on the web today should turn up even more. If you see something online today that just seems too bizarre to be true, take a closer look or risk becoming the April Fool.
Website of the week: www.swapsity.ca
The latest site letting you swap goods and skills. It joins Barter Network and ITEX
This Sunday on TECH NOW a prescription drug being touted as a pill to fight obesity.