April fools round-up: Google maps for NES, Wi-Fi gnomes and Apple patents the rectangle


This year’s crop of April's fools jokes are among some of the strangest yet, including Google maps going low-fi with an 8-bit version, a one inch notebook and Hungry Hippos going iPad compatible. We provide a round-up from some of the best from yesterday's hoaxes...

Google's April Fools jokes have become a staple of the technology calender, and this year the internet giant upped the ante with several jokes across its platforms. The firm touted a new 8-Bit maps service tailored specifically for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The new 'Zelda-style' version of Maps will come in the form of a special NES cartridge that can connect to the internet via dial-up.

This apparently allows most of the heavy lifting to get done on Google's servers, where the maps are 'rendered to 8-bit form in real-time'. Better yet, it even supports voice search. Naturally, there's no word on a release date, but you can currently check out the "beta" by visiting Google Maps in your browser and selecting "Start Your Quest."

Google is also launching Gmail Tap, reintroducing Morse Code to its email service, letting you communicate with just two keys.

With Chrome, Google introduced 'a multitask mode' that lets you browse with multiple cursors at the same time too.

Meanwhile a new YouTube Experience DVD collection boasted including every single video ever to appear on the site delivered (via 170 delivery trucks) direct to your door, with trending videos on video disk, music on record, and a snail mail system for comments.

Google has also launched 'Interplanetary Analytics' so users can see which planets are visiting their website the most.

Google's Fibreoptic netowork was boosted with the addition of actual Fiber Bars. These bars are able to detect what the body needs with body analytics and will deliver what your body needs, when you need it.

For its streetview service, Google said it plans to expand its Autralia service not with cars, but with kangaroos with cameras on their heads. This new program will be called Google Street Roo and will be starting immediately.

Google Street Roo

Beyond Google, LOVEFiLM announced it would launch abridged 23 minute versions of all films as thety 'noticed that our members are increasingly choosing TV shows and shorter form entertainment'.

ThinkGeek announced the availablitiy of Electronic Hungry Hippos for iPad on sale. Using an iPad as a board, hippos eat as many on-screen marbles as possible.

In other Apple-related hoaxes, technology site the Register reported that Apple had patented the rights to the rectangle. The report stated the patent on the rectangle was issued in 1912 and then renewed.

Meanwhile, Carphone Warehouse launched an “i-Shield”, a sphere that protects your phone device no matter what. The drawback is that the case forbids any use of the device whatsoever.

Rival Phones 4U launched garden gnomes with Wi-Fi boosters called 'Gnomes 4U'. Customers can pick from Angelina Gnomie, Kylie Mignome, or Signome Cowell.

World of Warcraft maker Blizzard Entertainment said it will be starting Blizzard Kidzz, a system with which the gaming company will begin creating games which work with kids using characters from otherwise unfavorably violent games. One example is Zergling from Starcraft – here you’ll use your Zerg creature to learn to type- or die.

In a suprise move, the AdBlock servcie for Chrome and Safari now features 'CatBlock' which shows you pictures of cats over where ads normally are. The author of the extension is even offering to make a standalone version of CatBlock if he receives enough donation.

Sony has a brand new device which allows users to connect to a much more powerful experience with the lightest and most portable UltraBook ever. This UltraBook is the size of a Quarter (US Currency coin) and goes by the name of The Sony VAIO Q Series.

Meanwhile, digital marketing technology firm Kenshoo launched 'Ken Shoe' a digital marketing personal assistant. The firm claimed the voice activated mobile application 'optimises search, social, and online advertising campaigns'. Named after Ken, the First Acting Kenshoo Executive (F.A.K.E.), and portrayed by flippant footwear, Ken Shoe is 'calibrated to disregard any actions that could potentially harm campaign performance'. For example, if an individual tells Ken Shoe to raise bids on paid search keywords with poor converting landing pages, the app will shoo away the command. While in beta, some users found this feature to be off-putting but eventually grew to appreciate Ken Shoe’s shoos.

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