April Fools’ Day: Five great Internet hoaxes
The savvy Internet reader knows that you can’t believe everything you read online, but on April Fools’ Day we suggest that you not believe anything you read online.
Internet hoax time is just around the corner, and as our inbox continues to fill up with jaw-dropping press releases “strictly embargoed for April 1,” we thought we’d put together a list of some Internet hoaxes past -- just to whet your appetite for what’s to come.
1. Tacocopter: Tacocopter took the Internet by storm in late March, when a faux Silicon Valley start-up put up a website outlining a plan to deliver tacos via remote-control flying drone robots. Sound too good to be true? Well, it is. While founder Star Simpson said she wouldn’t call her website a joke, Federal Aviation Administration regulations prevent the use of unmanned aircraft for commercial services. Bonus points for faking us out before April Fools’ Day.
2. Gmail Paper: On April 1 2007, Google announced Gmail Paper -- a new service that would allow Gmail users to request a physical copy of any email message directly from Google. “Everyone loves Gmail. But not everyone loves email or the digital era,” Google wrote. “Whatever happened to stamps, filing cabinets and the mailman? Well you asked for it, and it’s here.” Although of course, it wasn’t. After a bit of clicking a user got to a page where Google copped to the joke. “As you may have guessed, Gmail Paper is not a real product or feature of Gmail. No, we don’t plan on sending you boxes and boxes of your email in hard copy form.” Wait, really?
3. Think Geek’s iCade: The folks at the online super store Think Geek take April Fools’ Day very seriously, writing several faux descriptions of products that are only slightly more ridiculous that the products they normally sell. In 2010 they came up with the wacky idea for the iCade — an iPad cabinet that would allow you to play Atari games on your iPad — with joystick and buttons built right in. But this idea had legs, and now you can buy an iCade for real on Think Geek’s website for $99.99.
4.The IE IQ hoax: For one brief, glorious moment, tech reporters thought it just might be possible that people who used the Internet Explorer browser were actually dumber than those who used other browsers. A company called Aptiquant put out a study that seemed to prove it. The story spread like wildfire, until it was revealed to be a hoax. When the truth came out, the guy behind it all had this to say: “It was just a joke, and I didn’t really mean to insult anybody.” (Not technically an April Fools’ Day joke, but way too good to leave out.)
5. World of Warcraft introduces Crabby, the dungeon helper: On April 1, 2011, Blizzard, the maker of World of Warcraft, introduced Crabby, a giant holographic crab that hangs out at the bottom right-hand region of your screen and helps provide advice and helpful tips as you make your way through Azeroth’s dungeons. He’s so awesome, and fake.
The view from Sacramento
Sign up for the California Politics newsletter to get exclusive analysis from our reporters.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.