Google loves a good joke, which is a pretty unusual trait for a huge, multinational corporation. For more than a decade the company has been a provider of gags, pranks, hoaxes and Easter eggs – hidden messages, jokes or features – both inside its products and services, or elsewhere online.
Google’s hoaxes are often quite elaborate. Many include fake product tours, press releases and even professional-looking promotional videos for “new” services.
So why does Google do it? For a variety of reasons, it certainly makes Google seem a little more human. Google management probably also sees value in allowing its staff to have fun by creating these gags, which the company’s customers seem to enjoy as well.
Furthermore, the gags may help Google maintain some of its start-up spirit, which generally fades as a company gets big and buttoned down, and loses its sense of fun.
The best Google pranks promise new features that are often impossible given today’s technology, and yet strangely compelling. Want to know what zoo animals are thinking? Ready to travel to Mars in 2014? Google is on it.
Here are a few of our favourite examples:
1) Google translate for animals
2) Google Pigeon Algorithm
3) Join ‘Virgle’ a joint venture between Google and Virgin Galactic to start a new civilisation on Mars- just fill out the online application!
4) Google Romance with “Soulmate Search”
5) Google Book Search with scratch and sniff!