Apr 1, 2012

Google Goes All Out With April Fools Day; Kangaroo Street View, Gmail Tap & 8-Bit Maps

by Digital Marketing Institute

Since it’s April 1st, today has become less about pulling pranks and more about coming up with silly ideas that would never see the light of day. Not that we’re complaining though, so long as they’re funny, we’re more than happy to indulge the silliness, and one company that seems to embrace this year after year is Google.

Not happy with just unveiling the one joke, they’ve come up with numerous different products or updates for most of their products such as

One such example is Gmail Tap. Since keyboards require so many fingers to operate, Tap resurrects Morse code and replaces the 26 button keyboard with just two, a dash button and a dot button.

Another one involves Street View in Australia and their coverage of the outback through a unique method, which Google believe will capture 98 per cent of the outback in three years. It’s perhaps best to let Google Australia explain the initiative itself:

Today, we’re happy to announce that Google has found an innovative way to capture a special collection of images from the back of beyond to include in Google Street View. Over the next four weeks, more than a thousand Big Red kangaroos will be equipped with a 360-degree head camera that will automatically capture images when the marsupial is on the move during daylight hours. The cameras on our Street Roo collection team will be powered by solar panels stitched into the back pocket of custom-made roo jackets. Images will be wired to Google in real-time. A GPS tracker embedded into the jacket will match the location of the kangaroo to ensure the image is accurately uploaded onto the new Street View layer. To ensure a seamless experience – and to avoid motion sickness – we have also developed software that will smooth over the bouncing effect experienced with the raw data. Users will be able to move backwards or forwards in Google Street Roo as they would use Street View”

The last one featured here is actually real and can be accessed by all, but its still silly nonetheless. Since you can access Google Maps from both computers, smartphones and tablets, there was one area that Google felt had been neglected all these years, the NES. So with help from Nintendo and Square Enix, they’ve created an 8-bit version of Google Maps in the style of the classic NES game ‘Dragon Quest’.

You can also go into street view and see what the world looks like from the perspective of an 8-bit character, although unfortunately you won’t encounter any slimes or monsters to fight (Probably just as well to be honest). For those who don’t have immediate access to their NES, you access the feature by clicking the ‘Quest’ option at the top right hand corner of maps.

Of course, Google has a track record when it comes to making these type of videos. Last year, they unveiled that they created a new feature for Gmail called Motion. Although considering how much attention Kinect and motion controls, this April Fool’s joke mightn’t be as far-fetched as you would think, but the gestures used probably won’t be as silly as the ones featured below.

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