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April Fools' Day makes for Internet silliness

Google kicks things off a day early this year with a supposed port of Google Maps to the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Here's an overview of April Fools' weekend shenanigans.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
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  • Ed was a member of the CNET crew that won a National Magazine Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors for general excellence online. He's also edited pieces that've nabbed prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists and others.
Edward Moyer
2 min read
Google HQ, as rendered in the style of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Screenshot by Edward Moyer/CNET

Fakery on the Internet? You've got to be kidding.

No, no; it's true. Especially on April Fools' Day, when the World Wide Web and mischievous geeks all over the planet celebrate leg-pulls and pushovers.

This year, Google kicked things off a day early with a supposed port of Google Maps to Nintendo's 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. What follows is a rundown of other 2012 Fools' Day shenanigans, in case you foolishly missed them. (We've tossed in a few related stories for good measure too.)

We'll be updating the list as April Fools' Day rolls along.

  • CNET took a look at how to punk noobs on the special day -- including driving people nuts with an unlocatable beeping noise, and stealthily "borrowing" a friend's iPhone and setting it up so Siri calls the unsuspecting user an unsuspected name.
  • Not all pranks turn out to be pranks. What happens when you get fooled by reality? Take a walk down memory lane with this piece from the vaults, in which CNET's Josh Lowensohn takes a look at six April Fools' stories that turned out to be legit.
  • Google got things rolling for April Fools' 2012 with a fake 8-bit port of Google Maps to the Nintendo Entertainment System. A bogus promo video set the tone, and a link on the Google Maps page let people try out a simulation.
  • Renowned for throwing things out on the Web to see what sticks, Google also suggested a dashing new turn for Gmail -- imagine a two-key keyboard that turns GMail into Morse code.
  • Our own colleagues at ZDNet Australia present a story written by one "Avril Primera" that considers the possibility of China's Huawei buying Sydney Tower and the Harbour Bridge as a consolation for not being able to tender for National Broadband Network contracts.
  • CNET UK, meanwhile, posits The Pirate Bay getting a whole lot more literal with the launch of an actual submarine to host its servers off-shore. And it spots a strange, yet strangely familiar Google Doodle.
  • Google strikes again! This time it's Google Racing, an almost plausible partnership with Nascar that would see Google's self-driving vehicles compete in the world of stock car racing.
  • Roku is shaking up streaming and your remote control with the new Shake Remote, an innovative remote based on the much-lampooned exercise device. The device promises to launch a "Roku-lation" in TV streaming while you cut flab.
  • Media mogul Conan O'Brien announced that he had acquired the tech blog Mashable and ousted site founder and CEO Pete Cashmore. O'Brien explained that the move was motivated by a desire to correct the "atrocious" job Mashable does in covering tech news.