SLIDESHOW

Best April Fools' Day pranks in recent Internet history

The Internet goes completely bananas every April 1st. Here are some of the best Web pranks from recent Internet history.

Clever geeks and nerds

While the suits put the kibosh on tomfoolery sneaking onto company home pages most of the year, all bets are off come April Fools' Day.

We expect this year websites and associated geek portals will again unleash an unholy barrage of "cray cray" on the public. Google, in particular goes friggin' bonkers every year.

What these pranks, fake-outs, and in jokes lack in actual humor, they make up with a confounding amount of preparation.

Here are some of our favorite standouts from past April Fools' days.

Starbucks coffee via scooter

Have you ever been walking down the street and thought to yourself "I could use a cup of coffee, too bad there's not one right here at this exact moment." We all have, right?

That's why in 2011, Starbucks introduced its innovative Mobile Pour app. Using the app was supposed to enable caffeine-seekers to order a cup of coffee to be delivered directly by a scooter-riding barista.

Don't miss the great .gif showing how the system worked.

Sony thinks small

While many around the technology industry like to claim they think big, Sony made a point of thinking small. Real small. CRAZY small!

Last April, the company introduced the world to the Sony Vaio Q: "The World's Smallest Ultrabook," a coin-sized laptop that came complete with a surprisingly professional-looking promo video and website.

Google Australia maps the outback with kangaroos

While Google has used its panoramic technologies to present some truly unforgettable vistas, it has proven difficult to bring the specialized photographic hardware to all the nooks and crannies of the Australian outback.

The solution (offered in 2012): to strap cameras to Big Red kangaroos, which were then expected to capture everything in their bouncy daytime travels.

Good thinking, Google!

Etsy acquires the city of Portland

Without having any genuine numbers to back this up, I'm going to guess that a not-insignificant slice of the local economy of Portland, Oregon, depends on Etsy, the virtual global crafts market.

So, if the Brooklyn-based Etsy were to actually purchase an American city, it wouldn't be that surprising that it would be Portland.

Warner Brothers acquires Pirate Bay in fake alternate history

It's strange to remember how not so long ago, big studios like Warner Brothers were sworn enemies of torrent sites like the infamous Pirate Bay.

That was all before this announcement on April 1, 2009 detailed Warner Brothers' purchase of The Pirate Bay for more than $13 billion. Great "reporting" by torrentfreak.com on this one.

Crabby, the World of Warcraft helpy crab

You know that little paperclip office assistant guy from Microsoft Office? Clippy—always so helpful, right?!

The good people behind Blizzard's World of Warcraft used Clippy as a role model and introduced Crabby in 2011.

This holographic crab lived in the corner of your screen and dispensed helpful advice as you made your way through Azeroth's dungeons.

(Crabby's appearance prompted almost 6000 comments to date, by the way.)

That time when The Guardian became an all-tweet publication

As publications of all kinds still fight to stay above water, one of the most ambitious media experiments came from the U.K'.s Guardian newspaper.

In 2009, the venerable newspaper decided to forgo nearly 200 years of print, and transition into publishing news and opinion exclusively through the preferred medium of the day: tweets.

Google UK talks to the animals

Have you ever tried talking to an animal? It's frustrating because animals are really dumb! Thankfully the good people at Google UK in 2011 created a version of Google Translate that translates what our animal friends are actually trying to tell us.

Finally, the communication divide between man and beast is bridged. Thank you, Google UK.

All of YouTube. On DVD.

This prank from YouTube featured a service that would deliver all of the content on YouTube directly to your home on DVD.

It isn't notable so much for being funny, but rather for the fact that they put some work into it.

For instance, in order to produce the promotional video, they actually had to rent a fleet of trucks to deliver the giant boxes of DVDs.

And you had to mail in your "like!"

King Arthur in Vietnam

Video game maker Paradox Interactive made waves in April 2011 when it revealed that the upcoming sequel to the company's popular role-playing strategy game King Arthur would officially be King Arthur II: Vietnam.

Players were invited to fight along with England's brave knights of yore as they trudged through the rainforests of southeastern Asia.

CatBlock, the prank that became a reality

Last April 1, AdBlock, the popular Chrome extension, began to replace all the ads on websites with pictures of cats. A fun idea, right?

Lots of other people thought so. The prank actually became so popular that two days later, developer Michael Gundlach actually launched a pay-subscription standalone version of CatBlock.

Boyfriend, what boyfriend?

As its 2011 prank, Kodak announced its Relationshiffft app, which would "remove" anyone's image from your photos or videos.

This app's" 12-sided dodo-pixel technology" supposedly filled in the area behind the eradicated person with a real background.

Kodak also promised that a "Version 2.0" would insert a new companion's face into your photos.

Alas, none of it was real.

Google's Custom Time email

In 2011, the zany brains at Google came up with the email feature we all long for—the ability to send emails to the past.

An April Fools' hoax, of course, but as described, Custom Time would allow you to set the email as 'read' or 'unread' and would pop it into the recipient's box in proper chronological order.

It garnered many glowing (fake) comments, as well.

If only...

Hulu goes all-1996, in 2011

Back in 2011, Hulu went nostalgic with a 1996 version of its website, complete with an episode of The X-Files ("Up-and-comer Lucy Liu guest stars"), a clip from Good Morning America announcing that ATM machines would soon have surcharges, and a music video clip of Dave Matthews' Band's new tune "Crash Into Me."

Kinda makes us nostalgic for Doc Martens and flannel shirts.

YouTube saves bandwidth with TEXTp

Back in 2010, YouTube announced that in order to preserve bandwidth and protect its bottom line, the video hosting service created TEXTp, a way to replace images in videos with a series of letters and numbers.

From YouTube's blogspot announcement: "the videos are far less taxing on our system— and have the added benefit of promoting literacy!"