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April Fool's Day history: five best-ever pranks

April Fool's Day history has been marked by many good pranks, but here are five of the most creative ever.

The company logo is displayed at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. in November last year.
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file
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5. Gmail goes on auto pilot

Already viewed as one of the most innovative e-mail systems in the world, Gmail got even easier in 2009, when Google “launched” Gmail Auto Pilot. It was purported to be a service that saved you the trouble of responding to e-mails by doing it for you. Google, of course, never launched such a program, but they did provide screen shots of how it would work.

In one example, an Auto Pilot user receives a classic African prince scam email, the type in which a foreign prince has $25 million in frozen assets, and only needs your bank information to help access it. Rather than deleting the e-mail like most people would, the Gmail Auto Pilot responds cheerfully to scam e-mail, and provides its user's bank account and social security numbers.

Google has a history of April Fool's high jinks. Last year, the company changed its name to Topeka for the month of March, a nod to the Kansas capital that had changed its name to Google as part of its campaign to win super high-speed Internet access.


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