For April Fool’s Day this year, Google has decided to forgo its famous pranks due to the seriousness of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s take this time to look at some of the best jokes and pranks Google had come up with in the past two decades. Check them out below, arranged in no particular order.

Flex your thoughts for MentalPlex (2000)

Here we have the first April Fool’s prank from Google. The search result page will display a number of error messages, such as “Error 466: Multiple transmitters detected. Silence voices in your head and try again” and “Error: Insufficient conviction. Please clap hands 3 times, while chanting “I believe” and try again.”

Find your soulmate on Google Romance (2006)

If anyone reading the photo above back in 2006 is convinced that Google Romance is a legitimate online dating platform, they might have problems finding actual romance in real life.

Feeling lucky while updating your calendar (2008)

(Photo source: Independent | AFP | Getty)
Google cheekily added the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to its calendar back in 2008. Using this special feature will set the user up for an evening date (not real, of course) with Hollywood stars like Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Britney Spears, Johnny Depp and more.

Hunt for treasure with Google Map (2013)

By clicking the “Treasure” mode on the top right corner, Google will display to its Map users a map for treasure hunting! When using street view in this mode, with Pegman replaced by a telescope, it will seem like looking through at the map through an old telescope.

Play the pre-cursor to “Pokémon Go” (2013)

Before “Pokémon Go” captured everyone’s attention in 2016, Google teamed up with The Pokémon Company, Game Freak, and Nintendo three years prior for the Google Maps Pokémon Challenge. Much like the game we know now, people can catch Pokémon while exploring the real world. What started out as an April Fool’s joke is now one of the most-played games – by both young and old – in the world.

Minion mic drop (2016)

This one didn’t work out as well as the above. Google had to well, drop, this mic drop prank that it introduced on April Fool’s Day 2016 when Gmail users kept accidentally inserting this funny gif in non-funny, very important emails. 

Speak up in saturi (2008)

This one’s for Korean speakers, or more specifically, Koreans who speak in saturi. (More commonly spelled as satoori, which means ‘regional dialect’). Naturally, this function doesn’t work and a message will appear, explaining that it’s an April Fool’s prank, if anyone tries to use it.

Type with a keyboardless…keyboard? (2015)

Trust Japan to come up with one of the more bizarre April Fool’s pranks. Presenting Google Keyboardless Keyboard. In lieu of typing on a keyboard, one simply had to blow a party horn, which will then detect the length of the extended horn in order to identify the word one wanted to type. Anyone writing an essay would run out of breath before finishing an entire paragraph with this.

Move your body to send your email (2011)

Less than a decade ago, Google introduced the revolutionary Gmail Motion. Well, it only tricked people into thinking that by using the webcam to detect their movements, Google can interpret these into useful commands and characters. When users clicked on the “Try Gmail Motion” button, all they’d get is disappointment, and a message that said “Gmail Motion doesn’t actually exist. At least not yet…”

Banish the bad jokes (2018)

Unsure which of your jokes will work and which won’t? Google comes to the rescue with the Bad Joke Detector! Introduced on its Files Go app, the function promises to scan through your smartphone for jokes and after singling out the bad ones, you can simply delete them all with a single tap. If only this works on humans.
(Photo source: Forbes | Bloomberg Finance LP)