April Fools' Day 2014: Tech pranks include Pokemon, selfies

A group of ambitious San Francisco entrepreneurs and architects have launched a funding campaign to build "Silicon Island," a modern live/work space for tech entrepreneurs, off the coast of California in international waters. Crowdtilt

Google's new Pokemon Master? Internet-connected goggles for dogs? A private island for tech startups? If these all seem too good to be true, check your calendar -- it probably is.

Unlike the 75 percent of Americans who said they wouldn't pull a prank on Tuesday, for tech companies, April Fools' Day is like Christmas to them -- delivering promises of fantastical products that would dupe even the most skeptical users. This year, April 1 has been no different.

Google, the prankmaster of the tech world (remember Google Nose?), started the festivities earlier on Monday when the Google Maps division announced that it had a new job opening. The title? Pokemon Master.

In the latest version of the Google Maps app, hidden Pokemon are just waiting to be found around the world and participants "gotta catch'em all" before 2:00 p.m. PDT on April 1.


Other Google sites, like YouTube and Gmail, had their fun with the Gmail Shelfie, a so-called "sharable selfie" feature -- a tribute to the 2013 Word of the Year -- and this year's upcoming viral video trends, which included "Clocking," the "Glub Glub Water Dance," and oh-so-sweet "Kissing Dad."

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One of the many prank products that pokes fun at selfies this year, "#SelfieBot" will take the perfect selfie when your arm just isn't long enough, according to the company.
Orbotix
Google was not the only company to poke fun at the popularity of selfies. Birchbox, the fashion and beauty website, released a "new" version of its app. Including features such as the "Insta-product ID," mobile "shaving support," and the "Self-EAZE" Glamour shot generator, it promised to pack each selfie with a superpowered punch. Chegg, an academic company that is known for its online textbook rentals, offered an online course in "Mastering the Art of the Selfie," a three-step process in creating the perfect selfie. Orbotix, the creator of the Sphero robotic ball, unveiled "#SelfieBot," an app-controlled robot that allows the user to always capture that perfect selfie.

Twitter announced a wearable device called a "Twitter Helmet" that lets users tweet through a pecking motion -- like a bird.

Reddit got physical with the announcement of "Headdit" -- hand equivalent action detection -- which lets users navigate by nodding, frowning or showing your cat.

Even Microsoft got into the April Fools' spirit with the its newest features of the month: Bing Dogglz and Pet Translator. An obvious parody of its rival's Google Glass, the goggles connected dogs to the world around them -- searching for the nearest fire hydrants, directions to the nearest dog park, streaming dog-friendly tunes and more. Pet Translator could translate Canine or Feline to English, French or Spanish -- with Hamster and Parakeet coming soon, the company said.

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Toshiba introduced DiGiT, the world's first all-in-one wearable, on April 1.
Toshiba
Toshiba also announced the world's first all-in-one wearable, DiGiT. A pair of gloves that puts the latest innovations at its user's fingertips, replacing a smartphone, DSLR camera, media streaming box, gaming console, home theater system, MP3 player -- and even an ultrasound machine -- the pseudo-tech will also keep their hands warm too.

The most outrageous -- and perhaps the coolest -- tech prank is Crowdtilt's Silicon Island. A so-called "land development" 65 miles off the coast of California, it promised an environment free of immigration troubles, complicated tax codes, highly regulated municipalities and bus protesters. With a targeted completion date of mid-2015 and attempting to raise $25 million, early backers will be able to move there and make use of all the resources an entrepreneur needs to build world-changing technologies.

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A group of ambitious San Francisco entrepreneurs and architects have launched a funding campaign to build "Silicon Island," a modern live/work space for tech entrepreneurs, off the coast of California in international waters.
Crowdtilt

The fictional island would only accept Bitcoin as its form of currency, have no kitchens as food will be delivered via drones once a week and its official food will be Soylent -- a food substitute -- and have an island-wide Sonos playlist of the latest dubstep hits.


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