April Fools: YouTube shut down, Google adds smells

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Twitter did away with vowels, Google unveiled a button to add smells and the cast of the 1990s sitcom “Wings” launched a Kickstarter campaign.

The digital world celebrated April Fools’ Day with the rollout of mock innovations and parody makeovers. Many of the top online destinations spent Monday mocking themselves and, in Google’s case, playfully trying to lure users into pressing their noses against their computer screens.

Google, having already debuted its wearable Google Glass, on Monday showcased Google Nose to add scents to it search results. It urged visitors to lean in close and take a deep whiff for search results such as “unattended litter box.”

“In the fast-paced world that we live in, we don’t always have time to stop and smell the roses,” product manager Jon Wooly said in a video. “Now with Google Nose Beta, the roses are just a click away.”

YouTube, despite 72 hours of video uploaded every minute, said it was shutting down. The Google Inc.-owned video site joked that its eight-year rise was merely a lengthy talent search. At the end of the day, nominees were to no longer be accepted so judges could, for the next 10 years, sift through the billions of videos and declare a winner.

Google has always been one of the most enthusiastic April Fools’ Day observers, and on Monday it trotted out an extensive lineup of satire. It also added a “treasure map mode” to Google Maps, complete with “underwater street view,” and trumpeted Gmail Blue, in which the revolutionary upgrade is the simple addition of the color blue.

The comedy site Funny or Die parodied the recent Kickstarter campaign for a “Veronica Mars” movie with a number of crowd-funding campaigns for other 1990s shows, including “Wings” and “Family Matters.” The mock campaigns included videos with original cast members trapped by nostalgia.

“You’ve been asking for it for years,” “Wings” star Crystal Bernard says in a video asking for $87 million. “Think of it like a $1,000 ticket to the film. Or $20,000!”

Instead of linking to a way to donate money, the mock campaigns led users to charities including the Make-a-Wish Foundation: “Please channel that giving energy into one of these very real, very worthy charities,” read the site, slyly suggesting a more deserving cause for donation than Kickstarter projects.

Twitter, not content with the brevity of 140 characters, said it was “annncng” Twttr, a service that would limit messages to just consonants. In an apparent dig at the splitting in half of Netflix memberships between DVD and streaming, Twitter said users would now have to pay $5 a month for the premium use of vowels.

Netflix, meanwhile, boasted joke genre categories such as “Reality TV about people with no concept of reality.”

Hulu offered a new slate of programming for its video site, presenting fictional series as if real, completed shows. “30 Rock” fans were baited with the promise of an actual “The Rural Juror” (a fake film frequently alluded to on “30 Rock” starring Jane Krakowski’s character), and “Arrested Development” watchers were tempted by finally getting to see an episode of “Mock Trial with J. Reinhold.”

More in Herald Business Journal

Snohomish County’s campaign to land the 797 takes off

Executive Dave Somers announced the formation of a task force to urge Boeing to build the plane here.

A decade after the recession, pain and fear linger

No matter how good things are now, it’s impossible to forget how the collapse affected people.

Panel: Motorcycle industry in deep trouble and needs help

They have failed to increase sales by making new riders out of women, minorities and millennials.

Costco rises as results display big-box retailer’s resiliency

Their model has worked in the face of heightened competition from online, brick-and-mortar peers.

For modern women, 98-year-old rejection letters still sting

In a stark new video, female Boeing engineers break the silence about past inopportunity.

Tax reform needs the public’s input on spending priorities

The GOP tax plan is a good idea, but the next step should give us a voice on how taxes are spent.

Commentary: GM, Boeing fight a war of words over Mars

Boeing is strongly signaling how crucial deep-space exploration is to its future.

Under cloud of ethics probes, Airbus CEO Enders to step down

He leaves in 2019 after 14 years. Meanwhile, aircraft division CEO Fabrice Bregier leaves in February.

$4.99 sandwich promotion irks some Subway business owners

Management insists that “most franchisees support the promotion.”

Most Read