Pac-Man Maps and Smartphone Knives: The Best Tech April Fools Pranks

Tim Maytom

google maps pac manThe tech industry is a confusing place to work on April Fools' Day. With so many oddly-named startups and the increasing trend to stick a Bluetooth chip in everything and call it an Internet of Things-device, it can be hard to separate the pranks from reality.

We've already spent much of yesterday and today second-guessing ourselves over Amazon's new Dash button, so we thought we'd help you out, with a breakdown of the tech-related stories we've spotted so far.

Google are famously happy to embrace April Fools' Day, with previous pranks including telepathic search engines, moon bases, internet connectivity via toilets, 3D web pages and a peripheral for phones that enabled Google Wallet users to print money.

This year, the search giant transformed Google Maps into a giant Pac-Man game, with numerous locations around the world enabling users to play the classic arcade game in real-life locales including Times Square, Tokyo's Harajuku shopping district and Trafalgar Square.

uberboatMeanwhile, Uber promised users in Bangkok that their service would remain in place even in the case of flash floods by offering Uberboats that would navigate the city's streets, which could be requested with the promo code "HELPIDONTLIVEONAHILL".

Tumblr took a journey back to the late 90s, introducing users to the Tumblr ExecutiveSuite 2016, a distinctly Windows 98-style suite of tools that let them share spreadsheets with followers and included Coppy, a personal assistant modelled after Word 98's notorious 'Clippy'.

galaxy blade edgeSamsung went for a more device-based prank by introducing the Galaxy Blade Edge, "the world's first smart knife with smartphone capabilities" that includes a diamond edged blade "tough enough to cut through lobster tail and sharp enough to slice through tender heirloom tomatoes", as well as sensors that analyse your grip, dexterity and strength to improve your chopping.

Other organisations also turned to technology to sell their pranks, with Time Out attempting to start a Twitter hashtag with its news that Transport for London had reversed the standard rule of 'stand on the right, walk on the left' on its escalators due to tourist demand, prompting people to complain using '#TeamStandOnTheRight'.

nick clegg on grindrLGBTQ news website Pink News combined technology with the upcoming general election with news that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was joining matchmaking app Grindr in an effort to reach out to the gay community, with a source close to Lib Dem leader supposedly claiming that he "will be replying to all of the messages personally – no matter how raunchy."

And finally, we got into the April Fools' spirit ourselves, but can you spot which one of this morning's stories was a complete fabrication?