CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide

Tribble-breeding program

Google's Toilet Internet Service Provider

YouTube on DVD

Wonder Woman's invisible plane

Star Wars Tauntaun Sleeping Bag

Unicorn cookbook

Qualcomm's wolf-pigeons

Flying penguins

Glass-bottom airplane

Virgle Mars settlement

Proton Pack

Teardown of an orange

Mummified fairy

Mark Zuckerberg for H&M

April Fools' prank goes viral

Artisanal toilet paper

April Fools' Day brings out jokesters everywhere, from Google to the Smithsonian Museum, and the internet is their preferred method for spreading the inanity. With a new round hitting online for 2017, we explore some of the finest pranks to ever hit the web.

Last year, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum let its Star Trek fandom get a little out of hand when it introduced a Tribble-breeding program that featured a video of the furry little aliens reproducing at an alarming rate.

"I was skeptical," said Gen. J.R. "Jack" Dailey, director of the museum, of the fictional program. "I'm more of a dog person. But now that they're here, I've warmed up to these little critters."

Caption by / Photo by Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Google is a top purveyor of April Fools' jokes, but its 2007 introduction of the Google TiSP service still stands out. TiSP is a delightfully weird concept that involves hooking up your home to wireless broadband through your toilet. Google even created an elaborate set of installation instructions involving rubber gloves and feeding a cable into your porcelain throne.

Caption by / Photo by Google

In 2012, YouTube introduced its "latest innovation," which let you "literally hold YouTube in your hand." The YouTube Collection promo video advertises a set of DVDs containing every video uploaded to YouTube. The collection comes with offline comment forms you mail to video creators. Delivery is via 175 trucks or by pack mule if you live in a rural area.

Talk about convenience.

Caption by / Photo by Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is known for its impressive displays of famous and notable airplanes that dangle from the ceiling in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. In 2015, the museum cleared space for a unique exhibit: Wonder Woman's invisible plane. A deadpan video even shows workers on a lift dusting the unseeable aircraft.

Caption by / Photo by National Air and Space Museum

ThinkGeek fans look forward to the retailer's annual parade of pranks every April Fools' Day. The tradition started in 2001, when ThinkGeek offered fake products such as Mir Space Station remnants and caffeinated meatloaf. A true legend was born in 2009 with the arrival of the Star Wars Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, which is made to look like a gutted-out snow creature.

The sleeping bag was so popular that ThinkGeek made it into a real product available for purchase. It's fun to see each year's new batch of whimsical and strange inventions, but it's even more entertaining to guess which ones will become real offerings.

Caption by / Photo by ThinkGeek

The internet loves to read about weird historical happenings. In 2012, the British Library posted a blog entry about the discovery of a long-lost medieval cookbook detailing a recipe for unicorns. The recipe supposedly starts with "Taketh one unicorne" and then details how to marinate and grill the mythical creature.

Caption by / Photo by British Library

In 2012, Qualcomm offered to take YouTube viewers behind the scenes at its top-secret research-and-development facilities. The company then detailed an insane project to implant tiny wireless base stations into wolf-pigeon hybrids. The straight-faced delivery and funny animal mashups in the guise of corporate propaganda makes this a winner. Also, it has shark-falcons.

Caption by / Photo by Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Wait a minute ... penguins don't fly. That thought probably crossed the mind of the millions of people who watched the BBC's entertaining 2008 prank depicting a Terry Jones-hosted nature special about a group of flying penguins. The CGI birds take flight to a soaring soundtrack while filmmaker Jones provides a deadpan narration about the penguins hanging out in a tropical rainforest.

Caption by / Photo by Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

We're all familiar with glass-bottom boats designed to give you a view of sea life, but Richard Branson took the concept to an absurd extreme with his 2013 April Fools' introduction of a glass-bottomed plane for Virgin Atlantic. Branson's blog post includes faked photos showing the view from inside and outside of the cabin.

Caption by / Photo by Virgin

Virgin and Google joined up for an interplanetary prank in 2008 with the announcement of Virgle, a joint Mars settlement involving nuclear reactors, habitat modules, production plants, robotic vehicles and greenhouses. The joke involved videos from Virgin's Richard Branson and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

If Virgle were real, we would already have a human settlement on Mars. Unfortunately, it was just an elaborate April Fools' prank. Still, it's fun to read through the extensive details of how the colony would be built.

Caption by / Photo by Google

Every "Ghostbusters" fan's dream almost came true on April Fools' Day in 2016 when Sony announced a Proton Pack, the "the world's first ghost-catching device." The company touted its 30 years of collaboration with Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (from the 2016 "Ghostbusters" reboot) and Dr. Egon Spengler (from the original movies). Sony describes it as "a product designed to capture content from a parallel dimension." It's also resistant to slime.

Caption by / Photo by Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Repair-guide site iFixit got fruity for April Fools' in 2013 when it published an elaborate, step-by-step teardown of an orange. The process included blasting the citrus with a heat gun, poking and prying, and probing it with a screwdriver. The final step: slicing the skin in a spiral pattern.

"Though the orange's repairability is highly questionable, we do admire its end-of-life design. It is completely recyclable, compostable and delicious-able," iFixit noted.

Caption by / Photo by iFixit

Artist and magician Dan Baines sent the internet into a tizzy for April Fools' 2007. Baines created a clever mummified fairy prop and issued a press release detailing the discovery of a barrow containing 20 well-preserved fairy bodies. Baines posed his creation with a police evidence bag to help sell the hoax. After much press coverage, he admitted to the fabrication and in 2014, launched a successful mummified fairy Kickstarter project.

Caption by / Photo by Dan Baines

If Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg collaborated with clothing retailer H&M, it would look a lot like a prank from April Fools' 2016. The Mark Zuckerberg x H&M collection contains seven basic gray T-shirts and one pair of jeans. It sports a perfect tagline: "One less thing to think about in the morning."

The parody site came from marketing strategist Matvey Choudnovsky and designer Kolya Fabrika and isn't associated with either Zuckerberg or H&M. The only thing missing is a basic hoodie.

Caption by / Photo by Matvey Choudnovsky/Kolya Fabrika

In 2014, YouTube user Josh Weiland Photography posted a video with the title "Best classroom April Fools prank ever." The video, which has nearly 55 million views, involves a professor with a policy of requiring anyone whose phone goes off during class to answer the call on speakerphone.

A phone rings and a young woman answers it on speakerphone. The caller pretends to be from a pregnancy resource center phoning to tell her she's pregnant. The mortified professor apologizes, but the student tells him it's OK and she's already planning to name the baby "April Fools."

Caption by / Photo by Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Toilet-paper maker Quilted Northern made hundreds of thousands of people feel uncomfortable with its parody of artisanal products in 2016. A pitch-perfect video shows a craftsman making toilet paper by hand. Quilted Northern then introduces its new, very painful-looking Rustic Weave toilet paper. "For a more memorable bathroom experience," the narrator intones.

Caption by / Photo by Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET
Up Next
Family Festive Fun is in your Hands