In Search of Web Parody

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Google’s 2009 April Fool’s Day jokes center around a common theme: CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity).   In essence, CADIE is the world’s first “functional global-scale neuro-evolutionary learning cluster” – an artificial-intelligent being.  She thinks, she talks, she even writes her own blog.

CADIE's Blog

Google proudly made this ground-breaking announcement one minute before April 1, 2009.   Everything you ever want to know about the miraculous creation and abilities of CADIE are documented here.

Google applied the CADIE theme to many of their products.  Here is the CADIE-inspired Google Maps page:

Google Cadie maps

CADIE's Favorite Places in Google Maps

Google Earth had a special CADIE page.  Here you could use CADIE to explore the depths of the oceans, chat with her, and travel with her to various vacation spots around the globe.  You have to have Google Earth installed and then download the special cadietour.kmz file first.  I tried to chat with her, but she had a little trouble understanding my dry humor…

CADIE-powered Google Earth

 She made reading recommendations on Google Books.  Google Mobile had a CADIE-powered brain search that allowed you to index the memories in your brain so they were searchable.  Watch a demonstation on this YouTube video

 Google Mail announced a CADIE Gmail Autopilot application which uses the artificial intelligence capabilities of CADIE to automatically reply to your Gmail messages.  Just think of all the time you can save.

She also made an appearance in Google Images, Google Docs, and Google Analytics.   Finally, Google Chrome was available in 3-D viewing.

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April Fool’s Day brings a motherload of internet pranks and hoaxes.  As part of an almost-annual tradition since  2000, Google joins in on the fun.  In this post, I’ll cover the jokes up through 2007.    The Google hoaxes for 2008 can be viewed in a different post.

2000 – Google launches MentalPlex search.  Why be bothered typing in your search query when Google can read your mind for you?google1a

2002 – Google unveils its PigeonRank search technology.   Ingenious use of the massively parallel pecking capabilities of the common gray pigeon brings Google to the forefront of search technology.

google1

2004 – Google plans to open lunar research center.  It’s not enough to take over the Earth, Google wants to expand its reach to the moon.google2

2005 – Google Gulp   If you drink Coke just for the caffeine, you’ll love what Google Gulp will do for you.google3 

 2006 – Google Romance – Find your perfect match using the new Soulmate Search and then enjoy an all-expenses paid date (provided you agree to view contextually relevant advertising during your date).  google4
 

2007 – Gmail Paper – Know someone who likes to print out all of their emails before reading them?  This handy hard-copy delivery service is just for them!

google5

2007 – Google TiSP – Google offers a free in-home wireless broadband service that connects your wifi-enabled toilet to the internet via your plumbing system. 

google6

BBSpot is a tech humor site filled with, you guessed it, geeky tech-related humor.  While there are hundreds of different fake news stories on the site, I am focusing only on one:  Twitter Unveils New Premium Accounts.

This fake news story, written a couple months ago, announced the introduction of paid premium accounts on Twitter.  The account levels range from “Sparrow” at $5.00 per month all the way up to “Eagle” at $250 per month.  For a mere additional $100 per year, your tweets will be forwarded to a “well-educated offshore employee who will embellish tweets”.   (my note: I wonder if they offer the same service for us lowly bloggers…)

Fake news stories aren’t exactly rare these days with some of the best coming from The Onion.   I decided to feature the Twitter Premium Accounts story because so many people fell for it (and still continue to do so).

 

twitter-pay

In November 2006, two weeks before Firefox 2.0 was released, a parody website went online that advertised a Microsoft version of Firefox.  The UK website “The Register” went along with the joke and posted a news story about it.  Some people actually believed it.

While most technically oriented people saw the humor in this site, here’s a guy who fell for it six months later.   The website was originally located at http://www.msfirefox.net, but it has since been taken down.  Thanks again to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine for this link to the msfirefox site.

 

Microsoft Firefox

Microsoft Firefox

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