So the last couple days have been full of lots of jokes and pranks, at least in the technology world. Google pulled several, including a Gmail hoax I actually found amusing, and a slew of other sites posted their own jokes.
Notice that I didn’t pull any pranks of my own. The reasoning for that is twofold. First, I didn’t really have any good ideas. Second, the whole boatload of other pranks out there requires that some bloggers stick to their usual routine.
You see, I view April Fools’ Day as just another day. There is a bit of annoyance when people make jokes that aren’t easily distinguishable as such. The date, April 1, when applied to anything written online, means you should take what you’re reading with a large grain of salt. Chances are it’s a joke.
Fortunately, most (if not all) Internet big-timers are back to their usual business by now. That means I can turn on my feed-reading eyes for real and not worry about being hoodwinked. Maybe.
Actually, the one day of joking around is kind of fun. I saw some pretty cool pranks (Matt Cutts was right up there with his iPhone-plugs-into-anything hoax). The real irritation came from the fact that all this started on March 31. April Fools’ Day has gotten too big for one day, apparently. Now it’s two days. That’s twice the amount of time one must go not being able to trust anything one reads online.
So to summarize, I like April Fools’ Day pranks in moderation, when they’re confined to the actual Day. And a prompt admission right after the fact couldn’t hurt.
Incidentally, since the Day started a day early, the Google Gears API Blog seemed to feel it necessary to post that no, the announcements about Google Docs getting offline access were not an elaborate hoax complete with video. That’s what you get for announcing something near the day your company is known for, eh? That in and of itself was funny, and scary at the same time. Google Blogoscoped included the Google Docs offline announcement on a list of April Fools’ Day pranks, which scared the heck out of me when I read it before I remembered that it had been announced before the Day and had already been covered by several reputable news outlets. Fortunately my confidence was well-placed. I might have had to alter my own coverage to add a note that it was a big joke from Google…