Google’s April Fools’ hijinks: Graded

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Google

The unexamined jokes are not worth laughing at

At least, we’re pretty sure that was the quote, anyway. Here’s a look at Google’s annual array of April Fools’ related merriment, with each prank humorlessly assigned a letter grade. Enjoy!

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Google

Mic Drop

So that you can at least feel like you’ve had the last word, Mic Drop was a Gmail option that allowed you to reply to a conversation and immediately archive it, so that it would disappear from your inbox. It’s been a little too subtle for most, who have had no sense of humor about little things like their personal communications. Google has pulled the plug on it, as of this writing.

GRADE: D-  Even if it wasn’t hugely disruptive, it’s just not that funny.

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Google

Emoji replies in Inbox

“We’ve taken the deep neural network behind Smart Reply and made it sassier,” Google’s Inbox engineers said in a blog post announcing the ability to send emoji-based suggested replies. Clearly, this will be a great aid to business communications, particularly in and among startups.

GRADE: C+  Bonus points for not actually ruining anybody’s email (if only because nobody uses Inbox) but it’s mostly just “cute.”

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Google

Google Cardboard Plastic

Personally, we think the idea of a plastic VR headset that you wear on your face is completely ridiculous, but we could also easily see this splintering off into “Google Cardboard Plastic – Cardboard Edition” or “Google Nexus Cardboard Plastic.”

GRADE: B  This one’s low-key silliness is growing on us.

Google Photos Emoji Search

Hey, another emoji gag – not that we’re blaming Google, the cute little buggers were everywhere this year. The idea is that you can search an emoji like “dog” and it’ll find the dog pictures for you. Ho ho, very funny.

GRADE: B-  Kind of lame, but the video includes lots of corgis, which bumps it like a full letter grade.

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Google

Funky Maps

This is tough to explain – via Google Maps in a browser, you can send a notification to your phone that says “Funky Town – Get on the dance floor.” If you open it, you get an animation of the Street View person dancing to funky music. (It’s not even the actual song “Funky Town?”) Also, the Street View person appears to be wearing disco clothing.

GRADE: C-  It’s cool, but is it funny?

Furikku

It’s a hardware version of the “flick” software keyboard that Google designed for inputting Japanese characters (of which there are a lot more than English’s 26 letters). It’s also a comically ungainly box-machine-thing, very un-Google, but the really funny part is the “Flick sensor” which you use to turn anything with a grid pattern into a Flick keyboard.

GRADE: B+  Loses something in translation, but that’s a funny idea. Watch the whole video.

Snoopavision video

Snoopavision

That's more like it, Google - the classic upbeat aspirational music, straight-faced delivery, and the Snoop. The button doesn't actually work right now, which means you probably have to wait for your Cardboard Plastic for the full SnoopaVision experience.

GRADE: A-