April Fools’ Day 2017: Play Ms. Pac-Man, Amazon Echo’s Petlexa, Google Gnome & more
The annual day (or days, as has become the case) of pranks from major search/marketing/tech companies is underway.
If you thought you would avoid April Fools’ Day gags and pranks this year because the actual day falls on a Saturday, think again. C’mon now, Google and other search/marketing/tech companies have a history of starting their (attempts at) fun and games a day or two before April 1, and this year is no exception.
Here’s a look at what we’ve found so far, and we’ll do our best to keep this updated throughout the day … for better or worse.
Google Maps plays Ms. Pac-Man
First out of the gate, as far as we can tell, is Google Maps. It has a history of getting involved in fun and games, like last year’s gag when the Street View “pegman” was dressed in disco attire. This year, it’s added a playable version of Ms. Pac-Man right on top of whatever map you’re viewing. Just click the little Ms. Pac-Man button and start playing; the app even keeps score as you move along local roads and try to avoid death.
Amazon Echo with Petlexa
No joke: First thing I did when I got to my home office this morning was ask my Amazon Echo if it had any good April Fools’ Day jokes for me. It didn’t, but apparently that’s because I’m a human. Amazon’s Echo gag is a new technology called “Petlexa” that turns the Alexa voice system into something that can communicate with dogs, cats and other animals. I’m not much of an April Fools’ Day fan, but I confess: This one got me laughing.
Kik launches Storyz
The popular chat/messaging app is getting in on the fun, and poking some fun at Facebook’s expense. Kik’s joke is the launch of Storyz, which lets users “share short snippets of video from their everyday lives that expire within 23 hours and 57 minutes.” It’s a copy of all the copying that Facebook has done of Snapchat stories.
Flickr’s GIF comments
In all fairness, I’m not positive this counts as an April Fools’ joke because the feature is actually live on Flickr’s website, and most of these gags aren’t actually real. But anyway, you can now make your own GIF and use it to comment on a Flickr photo. It’s kind of weird, but it actually works — I just tested it twice with my own webcam. There are a lot of Flickr users who are unhappy and hoping it’s just a joke.
Google Home has a new sibling assistant: Google Gnome. “The smart yard is finally here,” says Google’s announcement. Gnome is exactly what it sounds like: an assistant for outside your home, complementing your Google Home on the inside. And this Gnome has a bit of an attitude, as you’ll see in the video below:
Snapchat’s Instagram filter
Maybe the best prank of all comes from Snapchat, which added a filter that makes your snaps look like Instagram posts. Our Danny Sullivan put up this example on Twitter:
The gag is an obvious swipe at how Facebook, Instagram and even Facebook Meesenger have all copied Snapchat’s stories feature recently. Well played, Snapchat. Well played.
If you’ve found others that we haven’t listed — from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon or others — feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!