The best April Fool's jokes in our round-up, Google wins

Submarine servers, 8-bit Google Maps, an unusual Google doodle, and more in our April Fool's round-up.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
3 min read

It's been a vintage April Fool's Day, but I think Google wins this one, with no fewer than 11 pranks. Eleven. Seriously.

There's a lot more to it than just Google though. There are submarine servers, a phone with a 92 day battery life, an unusual Apple patent, Hungry Hippos for the iPad, a 42-inch iPad and more.

Google went all-out this April Fool's Day. Google Maps went 8-bit for the NES, with the search giant announcing its navigation software was coming to the old Nintendo console. You can also hit up maps.google.com and select the 'quest' option in the top right to find your way around a Zelda-style setting. Just don't expect too much detail.

Google's Really Advanced Search lets you search by rhyming slang, font, embarrassing grammatical faux pas, and even "this exact word or phrase, whose sum of unicode code points is a mersenne prime". Its Chrome browser also has a multi-task mode that lets you browse with multiple cursors at the same time too. Anyway, there will be more Google later, let's let everyone else in with a shout.

ThinkGeek makes such awesome April Fool's products that they often go into production. Here's hoping we'll see Electronic Hungry Hippos for iPad on sale. You use your iPad as a board for the hippos to snaffle as many on-screen marbles as possible. They've even recreated the 80s television advert. Fantastic. 

Apple has patented the rectangle, The Register reports. US patent 1,042,012 (hmm...) states Apple has patented "a quadrilateral having all four interior angles of 90 degrees, opposite sides that are parallel, and congruent diagonals that bisect each other". It's not all that far-fetched.

Flickr is taking photography back in time, with its black and white Atkinson Dither. It removes "the distractions of all those many many megapixels" and strips "your art back to its most original, naked, beautiful form". Retro photography seems all the rage, so why not?

Not content with flying servers, The Pirate Bay has taken to the high seas with servers in a submarine, your friendly neighbourhood CNET UK reports. It needs to live up to its nautical name, after all. And while we're at it, there's quite a special Google doodle today. Doing away with the fancy illustrations and animations, Google plumped for unmoving letters in four colours. Could catch on.

A 42-inch iPad has shown up at Stuff.tv. Seriously, it's the size of a big-screen TV. Apple also chose to let Stuff in on its latest handset, a tie-in with BlackBerry -- the Crumble. The Apple and BlackBerry Crumble features a keyboard as well as a touchscreen. As if.

The O2 On & On handset, meanwhile, promises 1,000 hours of talk time, or a standby time of 92 days. It's to complement the company's On & On tariffs, which is a pretty smart bit of marketing.

Now, back to Google. Not content with putting a blind man behind the wheel of its self-driving car, the Big G has outed Google Racing. It's supposedly a tie-in with Nascar to answer that burning question we've all been wondering: "What if you built a self-driving car capable of navigating a track at speeds upwards of 200mph while surrounded by other cars?"

Google is also letting you change the weather. It's launching Gmail Tap, reintroducing Morse Code to its email service, letting you communicate with just two keys. Check out the video for a full briefing. LL Cool J even pops up, talking about "tapping it" a lot. Not sure what he could mean.

Google Street Roo is like Street View, but instead of using cars, it's strapped cameras to the heads of kangaroos, to map Australia. Of course.

YouTube on DVD? Again, why not? The YouTube Collection boxset includes viral highlights, makeup tutorials, dubstep remixes and more. The perfect gift for someone you want to laden with completely unnecessary discs.

Oh yes, Chrome now has a teleport mode, called Click-To-Teleport, while Google GoRo lets you access the Internet on a rotary phone. Nice.

And finally, the company is expanding into food, with Google Fiber. It's a range of health bars rather than fibre-optic cables for faster internet.

Blimey. Nice one Google. You win the Internet today. Have you seen any other great April Fool's jokes? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.