April Fools' round-up: HTC’s Gluuv, Vegemite Energy drink and Google’s Pokemon challenge

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April Fool’s Day has become a major event in the digital calendar, with many brands and media owners creating elaborate pranks to show off their funny side (and get plenty of social media shares and column inches in the process). We’ve put together some of the best hoaxes from this year's batch for your viewing pleasure…

YouTube predicts meme trends of 2014

YouTube has jumped the gun by predicting the meme trends of 2014 before they even take hold. Remember how everyone went mad for that clocking trend? Or that pop-pirate-robot sensation Glub Glub? How about that 'kissing dad' craze? No? Well that's because they haven't happened yet...

Microsoft resurrects Clippy... in real life form

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Microsoft's talking paperclip Clippy was reknowned for irritatiing Word and Excel users circa 1999. Now he's back in real life- and explaining his back-to-basics plans. Here's a quote form the man (or paperclip) himself: "Microsoft announced the date for the end of Windows XP support back in 2007, so I’ve had a lot of time to plan my next move. And now I’m excited to finally announce the next chapter in my life. I’m going back to basics and doing what paper clips like me are born to do: Attach things to other things."

Flipboard goes 'Flappy Bird'

Flipboard has decided to get into gaming, with their debut title, FlappyBoard. Sound familiar?

HTC’s Gluuv

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Reinventing the power glove for the mobile generation, HTC makes a sly dig at wearable technology with this spoof HTC Gluuv. Designed to function as a companion device to the new HTC One, the Gluuv fits perfectly on your hands and puts extra technology literally at your finger tips. The ‘Social Fingerz’ of the device let you gesture to interact with different social networks, so you can “thumbs up” that restaurant you just visited on Facebook, then take an “armie” in front of the restaurant with the Gluuv’s amazing 87.2 megapixel camera.

Karaoke Captcha from Future Ad Labs

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Future Ad Labs, the team behind the games-based Captcha web ID scheme, revealed its latest innovation- getting users to sing to prove they are humans. KaraoCaptcha asks users to sing famous chart hits, and uses audio recognition technology to determine whether it is a human singing, or a bot. Bots generally sound more metallic (a bit like C3P0) so this new security test boosts human verification, obviously.

Tumblr Pro- with added top hats

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Adding a premium feel to Yahoo’s blogging network, Tumblr has provided a way for users to upgrade their accounts. When activated, it plays a video full of inspirational imagery, then a message pops up and asks you if you want to upgrade. When it’s done, it just adds top hats to all the avatars on your dashboard.

Reddit goes hands free with 'Headdit'

Social news and link sharing site Reddit has finally found a way to make upvotes more convenient without the need for pesky mouse clicks and touchscreens. A window in the corner of the screen maps the user’s facial features, masks their face with the Reddit alien, and then reads their movements to upvote and downvote. Naturally for Reddit, if it detects a cat it takes you to a page full of cat content.

iiNet Pet-Fi

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Austalian telco iiNet solved the problem of a lack of reliable mobile hotspots by turning your dog or cat into an internet wi-fi router. Simply clip the lightweight Pet-Fi dongle to your pet's collar and enjoy fast wireless internet access on your smartphone, tablet or laptop whenever you are within 30 metres of your pet! And the best thing? Pet-Fi is powered by your pet's kinetic energy generated by movement, so there are no batteries to recharge. Ever.

Imgur Viralizer

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Image hosting service Imgur, a source for many internet memes, has added a button that lets users “viralize” their images, instantly making them do better on the site. The tool collects user data to determine which images to add to a user’s upload to get more shares and upvotes. Using its lab boffins at L.A.B.G.U.R (Laughter Augmenting Bureau of Giraffe User Research) the firm has also been using advanced statistics to track what, exactly, causes one image to go viral when another doesn’t. Clue: it's cats.

Vegemite energy drink

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Vegemite tricked consumers into believing it had launched an energy drink. Announced on Facebook, the post reads “Start your day with our NEW Vegemite iDRINK 2.1 energy drink! Will you swap your Vegemite toast for this when you’re on the go?” The post pokes fun at the failure of Vegemite’s ‘iSNACK 2.0’ launch in 2009, the original name of its ‘cheesybite’ product. After a significant consumer backlash, Kraft announced it would change the name just four days after release, admitting Australians “just don’t like the name.” Judging by the number of likes on this facebook post by Vegemite, they might want to consider launching a new line in soft drinks in reality.

Netflix premieres 'Rotisserie Chicken'

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Netflix has followed up its implausibly specific movie genre categories last year by streaming a 73 minute movie of a chicken roasting. The movie is, of course, a Netflix original. It's called "Rotisserie Chicken" and it's rated G.

Kickstartr drops the ‘e’

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To mark the crowd-funding site's 5th anniversary, Kickstarter announced it was dropping the ‘e’ from its name- reverting to its original name. By changing back to Kickstartr, the firm claimed it was reducing load time and bandwidth use across the board, saving 14 TB of data usage annually, reducing the site's carbon footprint by over 9%. Remember- there’s no “e” in community, as ‘Kickstartr’ pointed out.

Google Maps Pokemon challenge

Google tends to use its yearly April Fool’s Day pranks to showcase its growing roster of media platforms, and this year was no different.

On its Google Maps blog the company announced an update for the Android and iPhone versions of Google Maps that lets users roam the globe and catch Pokemon. The mini-game is part of Google's fictional recruiting search for the newly available position of Pokemon Master. To earn the job, recruits must catch all 150 Pokemon that can be found in the game. The game is actually real, but sadly, the Pokemon Master job is not. The deadline to apply is April 2and the small print features this caveat: "Our hiring committee must first battle to determine who can best judge the Pokemon Master. The battle date has yet to be set, so the role of Pokemon Master is not yet available."

Gmail ‘shelfies’

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Over at Gmail, Google is encouraging users to upload their self-portraits to use as Gmail inbox themes. The company is also letting users share these themes with one another. They're shareable selfies, or as Google calls them: "shelfies". Users can choose to upload their own shelfie themes, send them to their friends or use the top trending shelfies. To top off the joke, Google is taking credit for starting the whole selfie trend: "As the pioneering platform for selfies, Gmail is committed to being at the forefront of innovation in the selfie space," the company says in a satirical blog post. "And we think it's a tragedy that your handsome hair, luscious lashes and beautiful brows have been trapped in your own inbox. Until now, that is."

Google Plus adds Hasselhoff photobombs

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Not to be left out of the April fool's fun, the Google+ team has conjured up an April fool's joke of their own involving the auto awesome feature on Google+ and none other than David Hasselhoff. The Google+ team invites you to upload your own images but they suggest leaving a bit of room for The Hoff.

Nest and Virgin Airlines offer personal climates

Google’s recently acquired Nest has apparently teamed up with Richard Branson’s Virgin Airlines to start a program that would allow every passenger to each set their own temperature in a plane all at once. In the parody video the two company CEO’s announce a partnership to bring individual climate controlled temperatures to every passenger who flies with Virgin Air, with Nests smart thermostats.

Google AdSense tracks ad reach to planets and moons

Google AdSense treated users to some amusing ‘Top Earning Locations’ in the Dashboard, entitled ‘Top Planets and Moons’. The list includes ‘Europa, The Moon, Mars, Earth’ - with some activity supposedly reported on Euopa;

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Meanwhile, Google AdWords new ad group for bird types and a new Google Algorithm launched today named "Cutts Cull," more details at WebmasterWorld.

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Marmite donuts and Marmalade

Not to be outdone by Australian rival Vegemite, Marmite also pranked its Facebook followers with Doughmites- billed as delicious doughnutty goodness packed full of oozing Marmite.

Meanwhile, London based global design and branding agency, Identica revealed its latest innovation project, a new Marmite limited edition combining the iconic yeast extract with thick cut orange marmalade to create Marm’lade. Possibly inspired by the Ma’amite packaging from the 2012 Queen’s Golden Jubilee, Identica has created designs for a new Marmite variant inspired by the fact that Marmite lovers enjoy challenging their tastebuds. Mike Nash, Identica’s associate creative director, says, ‘We are huge fans of Marmite and intrigued with these new interesting taste combinations.’

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Krispy Kreme golden glazed doughnut

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On its Facebook page, Krispy Kreme Australia launched a Golden Glazed Donut- availaible for just just $15,999 each. But he brand were thoughtful enough to remind customers that the glaze is not edible.

Airbnb’s Airbrb desk rental


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Functioning much like apartment rental Airbnb, this spin- off lets you rent out your desk while you sneak off for a break at work. There’s no reason for your desk space to go to waste! Rent it out on Airbrb and give your guests a glimpse into your work life.

Flora/ Marmite mashup

Pre-mixed Flora and Marmite, available in light, medium or dark? Shame it's only an April fools...

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