APRIL FOOL: Our 10 favourite Fake-Outs This Year

Alice in Wonderland

Scanning news feeds on April Fool’s Day is a bit like travelling down Alice’s rabbit hole.

It’s hard to tell reality from wishful thinking, spiteful revenge, and random hallucinations of people who spend too much time looking at their computers.

That said, once you sort the fact from the fancy, it’s fun to look back at the best pranks of the day.

The day’s not over yet, but the japery seems to be dying down a bit. So here are 10 of our favourites so far, including a couple that almost fooled us.

Richard Rosenblatt's AdSense yacht

TechCrunch has been full of phony news today, but the cleverest bit was founder Mike Arrington's story claiming that Google's recent search algorithm changes had briefly caused Google Places to disappear from search results.

It almost sounded plausible until he added that Demand Media CEO Richard Rosenblatt has a yacht called the AdSense named after Google's search advertising platform, and ended with an 'off the record' quote from Google VP Marissa Mayer. The story got strung along for a bit when Rosenblatt apparently called TechCrunch HQ to complain about the yacht.

The only problem: the story posted March 31. Which means we're now in for a whole April Fool's SEASON, not just a single day.

Hulu goes back to the 90s

Hulu changed its front page to feature classic shows from the 1990s like the X-Files -- and a classic retro Web site design complete with scrolling ticker.

Google: find kittens near you

Almost every product group at Google played its own prank, but the new MeowMeNow feature from the Google Mobile team hit home because it sounds so much like some of the crazy startup pitches we've heard lately.

Plus: kittens!

Chrome goes plaintext

Google's Chrome browser team imagined the Internet as it used to be. It would have been a lot cooler if they put out a version of the browser that actually made the Web look like this.

The PlayMobil Apple Store

The thing is, we know people who would probably buy one for $179.99.

LinkedIn offers to connect users with famous dead or imaginary people

It's always fun when a company quietly inserts a prank into their actual core product and doesn't call attention to it.

HuffPo sets up a special paywall for New York Times employees

This is a prank with a point: a two-in-one skewering of Times editor Bill Keller's recent criticisms of the Huffington Post, and the paper's complicated paywall rules. Times employees get the first six letters of any word (or slideshow involving adorable kittens) for free, then can subscribe on a word by word basis. Also:

  • If you come in through Facebook, you'll be able to access for free all stories involving animals born with extra limbs.
  • If you come in through Twitter, you'll be able to access for free words that contain more than six letters, but only those that refer to antiquated transportation machines (i.e. 'funicular').
  • If you come in through Google, you'll be able to access stories of criminals who break into people's houses and then do strange things, such as take a shower or eat a snack.
  • If you come in through Digg, you'll be able to read for free all stories that refer to TV's Erik Estrada.

xkcd comic goes 3D

The best comic on the Internet added moving 3D panels on every single strip -- then created a joke about it.

PCMag capitulates to Steve Jobs and the post-PC era

Not that funny: a lot of those headlines could someday be true.

Kodak introduces an app that lets you erase your ex

Somebody should actually invent this. Seriously.

Google really treats April Fools as a company holiday

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