Velcro car seats and clear Cardboard: The best and worst of April Fools' Day

April 1 -- time for a wry chuckle over jokes that the former college improv geniuses now working in Silicon Valley have thought up for April Fools' Day. Sure, it's self-promotion disguised as comedy, but some of these almost had us fooled!

Claire Reilly
Claire Reilly was a video host, journalist and producer covering all things space, futurism, science and culture. Whether she's covering breaking news, explaining complex science topics or exploring the weirder sides of tech culture, Claire gets to the heart of why technology matters to everyone. She's been a regular commentator on broadcast news, and in her spare time, she's a cabaret enthusiast, Simpsons aficionado and closet country music lover. She originally hails from Sydney but now calls San Francisco home.
Nic Healey Senior Editor / Australia
Nic Healey is a Senior Editor with CNET, based in the Australia office. His passions include bourbon, video games and boring strangers with photos of his cat.
Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise processors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science Credentials
  • I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Claire Reilly
Nic Healey
Stephen Shankland
1 of 31 Razer

Razer Toaster

Razer is known for its gaming mice, headsets and keyboards, and may soon be known for breakfast. The Razer Toaster started life as joke idea, but the company's CEO promised to bring it the world if fans generate enough support.

Introducing Project Breadwinner -- a promise that the "most requested product in the history of gaming is now under development." With a glowing logo on the side to match your backlit keyboard and the ability to toast the Razer logo on your bread, the company says it will also take community feedback in designing the final appliance.

Razer CEO and Chief Gamer Min-Liang Tan is wonders what the fuss is all about.

"I don't even know why we're talking about this still."

2 of 31 iRobot

Zumba Roomba

Nothing says "edgy brand engagement" like referencing a fad aerobics trend that was cool in 2001. Still, robotic vacuum cleaner company iRobot has gone the classic rhymin' route with the announcement of the Zumba Roomba -- a robot vac that cleans while playing tunes and motivating you for your workout.

Clearly owing a hat tip to Tom Haverford's "DJ Roomba" from "Parks and Recreation," the Zumba Roomba even has colors to match your overpriced fluorescent activewear.

3 of 31 Google

Gmail Mic Drop

Uh-oh. Gavin from accounts has clicked Reply All again and you're in an email thread you just can't get out of. No Gavin, we don't care that you've just discovered Meme Generator.

For situations like that, Google introduced Gmail's new Mic Drop feature. Compose your email, and click "Send+Mic Drop". Your friends will get your message but you won't have to hear from them anymore, even if they reply to your email. Gmail will even add an image to your email to make it perfectly clear you don't care and you're tuning out.

Which turned out to be a problem in the real world, as this April Fools' prank backfired for unsuspecting Gmail users who inadvertently killed off important email discussions.

4 of 31 Zoosk

Zoosk Burrit-OH!

Dating site Zoosk (the one that isn't Tinder) has apparently spun the April Fools' wheel of fortune and ended up with the word "burrito." While most companies would have called it quits there, Zoosk doubled down and decided to go with Burrit-OH! -- a dating algorithm that matches you based on your choice of burrito ingredients. My sides sure are splitting.

5 of 31 IoT Group


Nice try IoT Group. The Roam-e purports to be a selfie-drone, a small flying camera that uses facial recognition to follow you around taking photos using its 5-megapixel camera. Pitched as a reason to "throw away your selfie stick" the Roam-e is...wait a minute! Apparently this isn't an April Fools' joke at all, but actually a real product costing AU$349 (about $265 or £185). Well...that sure is something.

6 of 31 Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET


Adobe wants you to get the most out of your snaps, so now it's adding a new filter inspired by master photographer Ansel Adams.

The company has put together one of its regular Lightroom Coffee Break tutorials to help. Simply upload your burger photo, hold down Command+Option+Shift+Caps Lock+Tab+A ("for Ansel") and you'll get the Ansel-o-matic filter. Presto: Classic early modern photograph of the great American west.

7 of 31 Google

Google Cardboard Plastic

Virtual reality has never been so real! With Google's latest iteration of its Cardboard VR headset, it feels as though you're looking at the real world in vivid color and three dimensions. Mostly because you really are.

Google Cardboard Plastic ditches that clunky opaque paper product in favor of clear plastic. In Google's words, it's "technology that's as powerful as you are. But not any more powerful than that."

8 of 31 Virgin Active

Personal Trainers

Proving that it's at the vanguard of personal training, gym chain Virgin Active has announced its own set of Personal Trainers. Ah yes -- we see what you did there.

With built-in speakers, effort indicators and real-time goal tracking, there's also a calorie counter on these shoes that will lock your laces until you reach your running goal. Finally, the ancient art of feeling guilty about your failed fitness goals has been giving a high-tech makeover.

9 of 31 Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

Lexus V-LCRO

It's time to start riding by the seat of your pants.

Lexus' Variable-Load Coupling Rear Orientation system, or V-LCRO for short, uses Velcro panels to keep you in your seat when you're on the road and to "more firmly establish the connection between driver and vehicle." The only downside is that your clothes need to be covered with Velcro fabric to keep you in place. And even then, you might still have problems getting out of the car.

10 of 31

Clearwater Baths IntelliBath

UK soak specialist Clearwater Baths has a Eureka moment with the IntelliBath. Clearwater says the technology-packed tub measures your BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol levels when you settle in for a soak, but we suspect its claims don't hold water.

Which is a shame, as the anti-prune warning sounds like a great idea.

11 of 31 iFixit

iFixit Smother Bag

The iFixit Smother Bag is a conveniently portable fireproof container you can whip out when your hoverboard catches fire. Hmm, actually maybe that's not such a bad idea. "Reusable design ensures you can smother fires from the hoverboard you have now--and the one you'll buy to replace it when it explodes!"

12 of 31 Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

OpenTable Taste

What's the joy of looking at a photo of a delicious meal if you can't taste it? And why should you book a restaurant unless you know its food is good?

That's the problem OpenTable Taste hopes to solve. Think of it as a fingerprint sensor for your tongue -- lick your smartphone screen and the phone will map your taste buds and recreate the flavor in your brain.

If we're honest, licking your screen is only slightly more ridiculous than standing on your chair in a restaurant to get the perfect food pic in the first place.

13 of 31 Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

Groovy Maps

Our first port of call on April 1 was Google Maps, and here we found that Pegman, the normally featureless figure you drag and drop around Maps, had caught a case of boogie fever. He looked the part, with a purple suit and wide collar, but didn't do much else.

Considering Google Maps has played host to Pacman games and let us search through cities for Pokemon in the past, this wasn't our top trick this year. Just like last week's Easter chocolate, this Easter egg felt a little stale.

14 of 31 Screenshot by Claire Reilly/CNET

Binge On Up

Love streaming endless Netflix and Hulu, but sick of tripping over or walking into street signs? Then carrier T-Mobile has the appropriately branded, hot-pink solution for you: Binge On Up.

It's a headset that holds your phone in view when you're out and about, and we didn't buy this one for a second. But then again, we wouldn't have believed in selfie sticks five years ago either.

15 of 31 Van Boom, Daniel

YouTube gets Snooped

Snoop Dogg, the rapper, actor and noted disgruntled gamer, is lending his business acumen and celebrity image to YouTube. The popular streaming site today announced #SnoopaVision, which allows viewers to watch any video in 360 degrees with Snoop Dogg in the background.

"Finally you can combined 360 immersive viewing with a pioneer in West Coast G-funk hip hop," says Preeya Khanna, YouTube's 360-degree product manager.

For bonus fun, watch the short video announcement and see how many song references you can spot.

16 of 31 Simpsons

Simpsons Smart Screen

If you're more of a shower person, Simpsons says this touchscreen enclosure allows you to surf the Web while you scrub yourself clean, or use the built-in camera to FaceTime your folks. Honestly, do they think we came down in the last shower?

The karaoke app and microphone in the shower head is a nice touch though.

17 of 31 CarWow

CarWow delivery drones

Would you buy a car from this drone? Car-buying website CarWow takes to the skies with this whirlybird wheeze. It claims to have outfitted a fleet of ex-Royal Air Force Chinook cargo helicopters with remote-controlled flight systems to turn them into supersized drones, ready to deliver your new car the same day you buy it. Hey, if it's good enough for Amazon...

18 of 31 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Imgur for Pets

Imgur for Pets offers a variation of the image-sharing site for animals, including animated gifs of humans re-enacting assorted pet-mocking videos.

19 of 31 Lyft

Lyft prank mode

Ride-sharing service Lyft offers a prank mode when ordering a car -- but so far, it's unclear what it involves. "Find a friend you want to prank. Make sure they're nearby and available to jump into a car with you," the company said. "Once the ride begins, so does the prank. Buckle up and enjoy the show."

20 of 31 Video screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google Parachute

Moving beyond its real drone delivery project, the Google Express shipping team offered parachute delivery, complete with cheesy product music and feel-good tech-industry cliches: "Parachutes are a lot like minds: they work best when they're open."

Samsung Internet of Trousers
21 of 31 Samsung

Samsung Internet of Trousers

Samsung's Internet of Trousers feature a Wi-Fly and a Fridge Lock Mode.

22 of 31 Video screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sonified Higgs bosons

The discovery of the Higgs boson particle at CERN's Large Hadron Collider got a sequel: the discovery of music from Sonified Higgs resonances and vibrations. It's OK to watch the video -- you won't be rickrolled.

23 of 31 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Comic Sans Pastebin

The Pastebin text-sharing site embraced the widely despised (but still widely used) Comic Sans font. For those who hate it, the right side of the page offers a "Kill It With Fire!" link to revert to the normal look.

24 of 31 Google

Smart Reply with emoji

Gmail's artificial intelligence-powered smart reply feature gets emoji literacy, including the ability to suggest email responses consisting solely of poop emoji.

25 of 31 Video screenshot by Danny Gallagher/CNET

Sony Proton Pack

Sony's Proton Pack will sound familiar to Ghostbuster fans.

26 of 31 Video screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google realBooks

Google Play's realBooks package one e-book in a single Android device so people can share with friends and fill up their bookshelves again.

27 of 31 Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Duolingo Pillow

The Duolingo Pillow from the language-learning app maker is a "sleepable" technology product that promises to teach you a new language as you slumber the night away.

28 of 31 Verizon

Verizon OccuCam

The Verizon OccuCam is an "exciting new wearable video camera" built into contact lenses that pipes what you see straight to your social network sites. Apps will automatically detect cats in need of publicity and flag your romantic partner when your eye wanders toward someone else.

29 of 31 Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Tribble breeding

Remember tribbles? Star Trek introduced the universe to the adorable fuzzballs with a knack for reproducing in mass.

Now, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has undertaken a tribble-breeding program, saying it would allow "museum specialists to study the galaxy's most adorable ecological disaster in greater detail than ever before."

30 of 31 H&M

Mark Zuckerberg x H&M

H&M, known for its fashion-forward style, brings us the Mark Zuckerberg collection -- riffing on the gray t-shirts and jeans that have become the Facebook co-founder's uniform. The website markforhm.com has the details, including the tagline "One less thing to think about in the morning." That's an homage to the billionaire's explanation for why he always wears the same clothes -- except for the hoodie.

31 of 31 Via Twitter @helper

"Watch the Stove"

Lefty, the longtime mascot for Hamburger Helper, released a new hip-hop album for free on Soundcloud.

"Watch the Stove" features five tracks that channel Jay Z and Kanye West's collaborative album "Watch the Throne." The songs express the complex emotions we all feel when there's not enough time or ingredients to make a nutritious, hot meal at home.

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