Google, Facebook, and others take the top ranks of our favorite tech April Fools' pranks of all time.
April Fools' Day has been around at least a couple of centuries, but in recent years, it's become a favorite holiday of web-savvy pranksters, who every April 1 set out to hoax, tease, or otherwise bewilder nerds across the globe. From upside-down streaming video and helicopter hotels to a Desktop Zero-Point Infinite Power Generator, here's a look at some of our favorite digital April Fools' pranks.
• On April 1, 2008, Google and Virgin joined forces for an April Fools' prank of epic proportions. In a promo emblazoned across the Google search page, the two companies unveiled "Virgle: The Adventure of Many Lifetimes." Virgle, Google promised, would ensure the colonization of the planet Mars. Motto: "Things will get better, eventually."
• Forget that boring old poke feature. In 2007, Facebook rolled out a functionality called LivePoke, which promised to dispatch a real person to poke a friend of your choice. Unfortunately, LivePoke was limited to the first 100 users in any given network. No word on how all that poking played out.
• In 2004, the very real website ThinkGeek began selling a very fake Desktop Zero-Point Infinite Power Generator, which harnesses the "seething abundant energy" of the universe, and cranks out 120 Volts of electricity. "ThinkGeek recommends you drain the unit's non-volatile waste chamber once every three months, and dispose of the tritium/deuterium slurry at a licensed disposal facility," ThinkGeek's promo copy notes. Sound crazy? "We've had people e-mailing us from all over the world telling us they were very interested in it," ThinkGeek buyer Scott Smith told Wired.