Google uses Gmail for April Fools' Day prank

Company pulls Gmail Motion gag -- controlling Gmail with your body

Have you started looking forward to controlling your Google Gmail account with body movements?

If you have, you probably shouldn't admit it.

Those pranksters at Google are having some April Fools' Day fun with users again this year.

This time the prank starts with a link on Google's search home page. "New! Gmail Motion: Turn your email into a true body of work," it reads.

Click on the link and it takes you to a page that has three videos all pertaining to the virtues of Gmail Motion, a supposedly new technology developed to let "a language of movements replace type entirely," according to Paul McDonald, Gmail product manager, in a video presentation.

McDonald explains that people are tired of sitting in a chairs and using a mouse and keyboard to open their email. Instead, Gmail Motion enables users to open messages by standing in front of their webcams and pretending to open an envelope.

Want to reply to an email? Simply point backward with your thumb. Want to reply to all? Use both hands.

And if that wasn't enough, the gag continues with a Google blog post telling users that they also can control Google Docs with body motions.

Just to mess with people looking for a job at Google, the company posted a new position -- the autocompleter. It's someone who will guess what users are searching for as they start to type.

"Do you often feel like you know what your friends and family are thinking and can finish their thoughts before they can?" asks the ad. "Are you an incredibly fast Google searcher? Like, so fast that you can do 20 searches before your mom does 1?"

This is all in keeping with Google's tradition of having some April Fools' Day fun.

Last year, the company played an April Fools' prank on its millions of worldwide users with an announcement that it had changed its name to Topeka in honor of Topeka, Kan. The prank came several weeks after the Kansas capital city unofficially changed its name to Google as part of an effort to persuade the search giant to select it as a test site for its super-fast fiber-optic network.

Last year's tricks also included dropping all the vowels from Google's Gmail home page. Sam Schillace, Gmail engineering director, had reported in a blog post that Gmail was experiencing VowelFail, or a "temporary vowel outage."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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