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April 3, 2006

The day the engines played

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Are you ready for this? Okay, take notes. Since we last spoke, China bought 140m share of Google, the Google Operating System blog introduced Google Browser – a secure Internet text browser that is already out of Beta (!); Google found little blue visitors in Area 51, a dog on the Whitehouse lawn, let users track zombies, and then launched Google Romance; Yahoo! bought all the Web 2.0 companies they could find; Bill Gates bought OpenOffice; Ask launched a rhyming search; Slashdot made their site bubblegum pink to better target its male audience and LiveJournal was taken over by pirate interns. Arrrrr!

April Fools!

Oh, those guys. They get me every year. But seriously folks, the jokes and hoaxes were increasingly elaborate and thought out this year. My own personal favorite was the news that plucky bloggers Matt Cutts and Jeremy Zawodny had been traded from Google and Yahoo, respectively. The news broke on Saturday that Jeremy was traded for Matt and 2,546 computers. And to make the transition easier for the kids, the boys announced they were simply going to switch blogs so users would not have to learn a new URL. It’s nice they took time to think of the little people. And yes, they really did spend the day posting entries on one another’s blog.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the new Slashdot homepage, which began utilizing a perky bubblegum-esque interface with the tag, ‘OMG!!! Ponies!” The site said the redesign was intended to help attract more female readers, responding to recent data that insinuated its readership was ‘strangely, disproportionately skewed toward males’. Really? Who would have thought?

And it was good to see the boys of Yahoo getting in on the fun. First buying all of the Web 2.0 companies – yes all – and then inventing a search engine based not on any algorithm, but on the research of Pixies. That’s right, Yahoo!, the engine that ‘strives to bring you great new services which Google haven’t [sic] already done’ (hee!) reported they had employed a million Pixies to act as personal searchers. Of course, they didn’t mean to do that. They meant to create a million pixel homepage, but you know how easy it is to make a typo. An ‘L’ becomes an ‘I’ and all of a sudden you’re subcontracting Pixies. It’s a crazy, crazy world. Unfortunately, the demand for the indentured Pixies seems to have been too great and Yahoo is already out.

“Yahoo Million Pixie Homepage has experienced extremely strong demand for Pixies, and as a result we are unable to kidnap and train them quickly enough. Our sweatshop Pixie training centre is working overtime and our Whipmasters are worn out.

We’ll let you know when they become available again.

Some other notable favorites this year included: Live.com’s search box that scurried across your screen when you tried to use it and a Google press release that allowed advertisers to click their own ads. Wikipedia has a complete list of this year’s April Fool’s Day hi-jinks.

I hope everyone had fun — now get back to work. April Fool’s Day 2006 is over.

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