Have Google’s April Fools ideas jumped the shark?
Without particularly wanting to use the phrase which Paul Thurrott evangelises so much, I really couldn’t think of a more applicable one. (If you aren’t up to speed with this over-used idiom, check this out).
Don’t get me wrong - I’ve always liked the idea that Google do this kind of thing, though I can’t help but feel it’s lost its sparkle a bit.
In 2007 we had the Google TiSP connection – a superior alternative to internet connectivity achieved by flushing cables down your toilet. It came in 3 different bundled packages: starter - ‘the trickle’, the intermediate package - ‘the number 2’ and the super-duper all-you-can-eat – the ‘royale flush’.
And all of that was kind of cute.
In 2008 we had Gmail custom time: a sort of time-travel function built into Gmail so you could, you know, mess with the recipient’s mind.
Just click "Set custom time" from the Compose view. Any email you send to the past appears in the proper chronological order in your recipient's inbox. You can opt for it to show up read or unread by selecting the appropriate option."
Which again was kind of funny.
2009 flopped spectacularly with a weird kind of panda site spoof. What was all that about?
As for 2010, I don’t think I even bothered covering it on Law Actually. I think it coincided with Easter, too, so I was probably too busy eating chocolate to blog about it anyway.
And this year, Google have served up ‘Gmail Motion’ in which you can use body gestures captured on your computer’s webcam to manage email rather than a mouse and keyboard.
The accompanying video on their site was a bit dull to be honest, though I was rather tickled by the fact that the gesture to send an email was licking your finger and ‘pressing down’ to mimic the action of affixing a stamp to an envelope.
But really – body gestures? With some of the wacky experimental labs features already available within Gmail, I fully expect this to be rolled out for real by the end of the year. Heck, the Wii has had this for years.
Anyhow, I guess it’s an improvement on the panda thing, but that’s not saying much.
Maybe it’s time Google knocked these April Fools things on the head?