April Fools' 2014: The best tech pranks of the day

To celebrate the day, tech firms around the globe make announcements to try and dupe us -- and what are some of the best this year?
Topic: Apple
1 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The Virtual Bay

The Pirate Bay, best known for torrent searches and copyright infringement lawsuits, decided to kick off the day a little early with their latest project: The Virtual Bay.

In a move touted as the "biggest step in our history," TPB said it was teaming up with neuroscientists from Russia, Israel, and Japan in order to create a virtual reality headset to store the entire torrent index in people's heads, allowing users to "live" their downloaded musics and games. In addition, as TPB will be stored within user minds, the website will soon become impossible to shut down.

Check it out here.

Check back for frequent updates on today's tech pranks!

Update 15.40 BST: Added CERN, Nokia, YouTube and the Hyperloop.

Update 16.00 BST: Google Chrome, Nest + Virgin, Chromecast and Twelve South join the mix.

Update 16.22 BST: Why is Samsung interested in pigeons, and KAYAK in bathrooms?

Update 17.00 BST: Google is Auto Awesome.

2 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

iFixit purchased by Apple

iFixit, an organization known for testing and offering repairability scores for our gadgets -- including iPhones, tablets, PCs and various mobile devices -- announced an exciting new partnership: the acquisition of the company by tech giant Apple.

Although Apple devices are notoriously difficult to repair, iFixit says that as part of the deal, Apple has pledged to "produce the most replaceable electronic devices and personal computers on the market" -- a clear win for the iFixit community.

"Everyone has a number," admitted Kyle Wiens, iFixit's CEO. "I didn't think there was a reasonable number that would make me say, 'You know I was going to change the world with repair documentation but here's a number.'" In the end, however, the company says that Apple "gave us a number that we couldn't refuse."

Check it out here.

3 of 20 Screenshot Nick Statt/CNET

Google's pokemon hunt

Google's April Fools' prank was the launch of a fake competition featuring an augmented reality game in which you seek out Pokemon in real-world locations to become a Pokemon master. In addition, Google's mapping app on iOS and Android now includes 150 pokemon across the world that can be caught to fill your pokedex. 

If you manage to catch them all, a reward is on offer. 

4 of 20 Samsung

Samsung and HTC's smart gloves

Samsung and HTC both had the same idea for a prank this year which springboarded off the expansion of wearable technology: smart gloves.

Samsung announced their "all-over-hand" Samsung Fingers first. The wearable device features a a three-inch flexible UHD Super Emo-LED display, 16-megapixel camera, and a plethora of health-related sensors including a barometer, heart rate measurer, and thermometer. If you get lost, enjoy the use of a compass, and you can control the 5G connected device with voice and gesture recognition software. Oh, and an S laser.

HTC's prank is the HTC Gluuv, a smart glove that connects to the HTC One and features a music system and a massive 87.2-megapixel camera for selfies.

5 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet


Waze, a crowdsourced mapping service acquired by Google in June 2013, has introduced WazeDates, a dating service due for launch in mid-April. The bolt-on to the traffic service is due to the acquisition of social enterprise software firm SingleSpotter.

Get ready to take the hands-on approach not only in traffic but your love life, Waze users.

6 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Virgin's smartkick shoes

HTC and Samsung are not the only firms using wearable technology as an outlet for April Fools' pranks. Virgin Mobile has introduced Smartkick shoes, which "keep you connected from the ground up."

The Smart-letto and Smartsneak will set you back $229 a pair, but allow you to call home with only a click of your heels, come equipped with Bluetooth speakers and will make sure you are never late to a meeting again by vibrating 15 minutes before your next calendar note.

If you run out of juice while on the road, the footwear includes a retractable plug-in phone charger.

Check it out here

7 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Make a beloved pet a moving Wi-Fi spot

While Telstra introduced a GPS-based phone designed exclusively for staying connected with your pet and Optus believes the future lies within gadgets that translate your dog's tail wagging, iinet.net wants to go a step further by transforming your companion in to a moving Wi-Fi spot.

The company's Pet-Fi is touted as the "world's first pet-powered mobile broadband solution." A lightweight Pet-Fi dongle clips on to your pet's collar and allows you to enjoy fast speeds if you are within 30 meters of your pet. The best thing, however, is that your cat, dog or hamster powers the device through kinetic energy generated by movement.

Check it out here.

8 of 20 Microsoft

Microsoft introduces SmartClippy

Save us.

Microsoft's contribution to April Fools' day is the launch of SmartClippy, a blast from the past which immediately gave me a headache the moment I saw it.

Clippy is a Microsoft Office assistant that has floated around since Office 97, but the new and improved version has entered the physical realm to help you with everyday tasks.

'Microsoft announced the date for the end of Windows XP support back in 2007, so I've had a lot of time to plan my next move,' said Clippy. 'And now I'm excited to finally announce the next chapter in my life. I'm going back to basics and doing what paper clips like me are born to do: Attach things to other things.'

See it here.

9 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Your call is important to us

'Your call is important to us.'

A phrase that regularly sends people waiting on the phone for customer service in to a fit of rage, yourcallisimportantto.us has satirised such service by creating a fake advertizing campaign for outsourcing phone operator services.

Called YCIITU, the service offers businesses the chance to play advertisements while the customer is placed on 'never ending' hold, earning both of the companies a slice of the profit.

See it here.

10 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The Hyperloop

If you're looking forward to riding the futuristic Hyperloop, you're in luck, as tickets will be on sale just for today.

A backer of the project, Tesla Motor's Elon Musk, called the transport a 'great leap for mankind.' Well, few will argue with going from San Francisco to Los Angeles in only 30 minutes.

Buy your tickets here.

11 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Nokia goes retro

It seems that the days of Nokia bricks are not behind us, as the tech giant announces plans to update the Nokia 3310 for today's consumer market.

Apart from the distinctive retro look, the new 3310 will come with a 41MP camera, flash, and a modified version of the Windows 8 mobile operating system to fit a three-inch 'unique' touch screen. Oh, and you get 7GB of free OneDrive cloud storage out of the box.

See it here.

12 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

CERN dumbs down

CERN may be an organization full of extremely intelligent people, but the announcement that they will switch to one of the dumbest fonts on earth, Comic Sans, sends a shiver down my spine.

Take a look

13 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Every viral video is based on the genius of YouTube

If you're wondering how viral videos begin and spread, look no further than YouTube, since the video site is responsible for every single one.

14 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Google Chrome adds Emoji support

Reading text is tiring and takes so long. Instead, Google Chrome has offered a new, quicker way to interpret information - through symbols, emoticons and pictures. Click the 'translate to Emoji' tab on your Android or iOS Chrome browser to give tired eyes a rest. Google tells us how this genius move came to be:

'We realized that we could apply the magic of Emoji to webpages. Not only does this pictorial and theatrical language allow us to communicate complex emotions, it’s also far more compact. One Emoji symbol can easily replace dozens of characters, improving efficiency and comprehension on the go. It turns out the best way to communicate in the future is to look to the past: the ancient Egyptians were really onto something with their hieroglyphs.'

15 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The BookBook

Twelve South, a maker of book-themed covers for iPads and iPhones, belives that such protection should not only be limited to mobile devices. Therefore, the Mac-protecting BookBook was born. 

See it here

16 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Nest and Virgin offer custom climate control to fliers

The Total Temperature Control System, the brainchild of Nest and Virgin, makes you more comfortable on your flight by offering you the chance to control the climate - whether you like it baking hot or prefer a polar vortex.

17 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Chromecast creates a squirrel revolution

I am one of many fans who enjoy Google's Chomecast device, but why should the technology be limited to human use?

18 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Samsung's Fli-Fy

We may have no use for homing pigeons in sending messages in modern times, but how about we use them as roving Wi-Fi hotspots?

Samsung's decided that the Fli-Fy program has merit. Tiny routers attached to the pigeons are kept going by electrical currents produced when the birds perch on electrical poles, powering the devices for all. To first be launched in London's Piccadilly Circus, universal Wi-Fi is on the horizon. Read on.

19 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Sometimes, you just have to go.

Instead of running around desperately seeking a free bathroom, use the KAYAK Bathroom stall finder to seek out the one closest to you, no matter where you are in the world. Oh, and don't forget to input how long you'll need it for. 

Don't forget to click the toilet for a surprise. 

See it here

20 of 20 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Google's Auto Awesome Photobombs

It might not be long before Google is asked to make this a true feature, but for now, the Official Google Blog has announced Auto Awesome Photobombs.

If you want a celebrity like David Hasselhoff to photobomb your holiday snaps, just upload an image and watch the magic happen.

See it here.

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