By Barry Levine / CIO Today. Updated April 01, 2014.
It really should be renamed Google Fools' Day. The tech giant puts so much effort into the occasion that it sometimes appears to be lobbying for a name change, and its jokes this April Fools' Day are no exception.
Via a YouTube video, Google has announced a fake competition where users try to find Nintendo Pokemons hidden in real-world locations via the Google Maps app. In the app's search bar, a blue Poke Ball has Press Start next to it, which causes the map to zip into Japan and show a screen heavily populated with Pokemon. A game of tapping and trapping ensues.
The feature movie-grade video trailer depicts human candidates for Pokemon Masters searching the world for the little creatures, which they can only see through their smartphones. The winner will be hired at Google as a Pokemon Master.
The Gmail Shelfie
On the Official Gmail Blog, the company introduces today the Gmail Shelfie. The post notes that Gmail Shelfie "is built on the idea that you shouldn't be selfish with your selfie." With only a few clicks, your friend or relative can set your Shelfie as your Gmail desktop theme "so they can enjoy checking, reading, and writing emails while seeing your friendly face in the background."
Over at the Chrome blog, they're announcing Google Translate support for Emoji, the smileys used in Japanese electronic messages, available in the Chrome browser for Android and iOS. "You can now read all of your favorite Web content using efficient and emotive illustrations instead of cumbersome text," it notes.
At Google+, you can now have an automated celebrity photobomb, where the image of a well-known person is added to any photo, thus stealing the shot. Upload a photo to Google+ with some space on a side for the interloper.
Across the Pacific, Google Japan is offering today a "magic hand" that means you no longer have to use your own hand for device control. The hand unit, which comes in right-hand and left-hand variations, can replace any of the user's digits, or could be used as a back scratcher.
In Google Drive, you can add a variety of whimsical themes to your resume via Auto-Awesome, and Google AdSense now allows you to "view impressions and revenue from across the solar system with the 'top planets and moons' report."
Nest, the intelligent thermostat company that Google recently bought, is now offering individualized temperature control for every passenger on a Virgin America flight. If you're adventurous, try out Chicago Polar Vortex.
Another acquisition, social mapper Waze, says it is has purchased SingleSpotter, a social software startup from Israel. SingleSpotter can monitor nearby smartphones in traffic to determine which owners are single from such indicators as relationship status in Facebook, delivery of small food orders, and other signs. Through WazeDates, you can find singles as you drive along.
But, just in case you remain single, there's now "cat-friendly on-screen keyboard input" that has resulted in Chrome OS support for felines. It includes "four-pawing modalities," and research has started on similar designs for dogs, fish and dinosaurs.