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April Fools’ Day 2019: the best and cringiest pranks

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Phone companies make cars and Google becomes a tulip whisperer

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Illustration by James Bareham / The Verge

Happy Monday, and happy April Fools’ Day, aka the day on which all brands come out in full force to take us by storm with bad dad jokes. As a reminder, today’s a day to not believe what you see, because most unbelievable sights could just be jokes made at your expense.

Amid the overused and unremarkable jokes, though, occasionally some of these might even merit a chuckle. Usually not. We’ve collected all the best ones here and will continue to update throughout the day as more companies exercise their wit and humor.

Google

As always, Google is back to play jokes on us. After starting off by offering the classic game Snake on Google Maps over the weekend, it’s now claiming to have a physical Screen Cleaner feature in the Files app that uses software to identify dirt and smudges and magically clean your phone. It then creates a “long-lasting non-stick shield” on the surface of your phone. Android users are keeping the joke alive by claiming in the comments of the video that the Screen Cleaner totally works! Does it now? Does it really?

Google usually goes in on April Fools’ Day. If all those pranks weren’t enough for you, in the smart home department, Google launched a one-day-only Google Tulip feature that promises to be a tulip whisperer. It also snuck a game inside Google Calendar’s web version under the settings menu, so you can shoot meetings down with a laser cannon for a high score. The game is unfortunately only available for regular Gmail users and only shows fake events, so you can’t pretend to shoot down your actual work meetings! The Alphabet-owned Waymo claims it’s developed a self-driving service for pets, including a cooling service to keep hamsters who run too hard feeling fresh.

Duolingo

Duolingo is taking its daily reminder push notifications a step further — by having a large green owl appear in real life and follow you around to remind you to practice your language lessons. Duolingo claims the owl can come in three modes — encouraging, disappointed, or passive aggressive — all very valid characterizations of the owl in the app right now. The best April Fools’ brand jokes are the self-aware ones, I guess.

OnePlus

OnePlus claims its next smart device isn’t a phone, but an electric car called #WarpCar, a clear parody of Tesla. It’s included more specs on its site, where it claims to have slightly poorer acceleration and range than a Tesla Model S. Eagle-eyed fans noted that the teaser video is simply a McLaren sitting in the shadows.

Spotify

Rather than have the algorithms design you a Discover Weekly playlist today, Spotify has made everyone Discocover Weekly playlists. At first glance, it seems like an unfortunate typo, but the contents of the playlist are actually disco songs by artists you tend to listen to. For me, that’s Demi Lovato and the cast of Riverdale singing disco covers, which wasn’t even a thing I knew they did, so I guess I did discover something.

Nvidia

Nvidia announced a GeForce RTX smart assistant called R.O.N. which claims to give you cool tips while playing Apex, like telling you to hide in order to survive. It can also spew a bunch of nonsense in French, Spanish, and Mandarin such as “I am a chicken dinner.” It automatically combines research on the web to leave long comments on Reddit and Twitch so that you win all arguments against trolls... or R.O.N. actually becomes the troll. The best feature, though, is that it will distract your partner and your parents to get off your case so you can game for longer.

Newegg

Newegg claims to have made its first hardware — a new RGB CPU that costs $4,999.99 with a whopping 100 cores and 200 threads. Its base clock is a supposed 1.4 Petahertz and its overclock speed is “classified,” by “the Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds.” If you overclock it, Newegg says you “might create a small black hole inside your CPU.” The CPU only has red, green, and blue colors, and if you want more, you’ll have to buy it through “simple micro transactions.” Thanks, Newegg.

Ant Financial

Ant Financial, affiliated with Alibaba and responsible for China’s predominant payment processing platform Alipay, says it’s come up with a new “FBi-Phone” that can sniff out fraud. It claims to use AI and blockchain to predict when a fraudster will call you, and if it’s a robocall, the phone will engage the bot in a seductive robotic chat while alerting authorities. The phone can also allegedly smell out whether cooking oil or a Swiss watch are real or counterfeit goods. While we don’t have any shots of the phone in action, Ant did send us this GIF, describing it as having “Batman in your pocket.”

HyperX and Nissin Cup Noodles

These two unlikely partners teamed up to create a new pair of headphones with Cup Noodles attached to the ear pads and a fork instead of a microphone. They claim you can detach the fork to slurp Cup Noodles while gaming, and that the Cup Noodles house the largest “dual-chamber drivers on the market.” The headphones were supposedly available for a limited time but they’re already marked as sold out online.

Tinder

If you’ve ever met someone from Tinder and were shocked at their actual height, this prank might bring some poetic justice. Tinder has announced a height verification feature “coming soon,” which will give honest people a badge of honor after they verify their height by taking a photo by a commercial building. As Tinder puts it: “We’re expecting to see a huge decline in the 80% of males on Tinder who are claiming that they are well over 6 feet. That’s fine by us — as long as we’re all living our truths.”

Roku

Roku has another remote — this time for your dog. The Press Paws remote comes with bark assistant technology, a built-in sub woofer, and animal appropriate shortcut buttons like a button that pulls up Animal Planet. Sadly, it’s all just a prank, and although Roku said it would cost $19.99 and be on its site, it isn’t actually listed. At least there’s a cute dog pic attached to the announcement, although the dog’s paw is obviously too big for the remote’s paw buttons.

Via

The Uber and Lyft competitor pranked its users today by announcing a new ride-sharing service where people can share a bike together. The oldest rider sits in front and is in charge of steering and braking. The rider at the back is in charge of telling the front rider that they “haven’t fallen off” the bike quite yet.

Lego

Lego teased a new app called “Find My Brick,” a parody of Apple’s Find my iPhone app. Find My Brick hones in on your brick’s location in a pile of miscellaneous blocks and helps you identify a multitude of colors and styles. People responded to the prank by saying that this should actually be a feature. After all, when you build a set made of thousands of pieces, bricks can get easily lost.

(Dis-)Honorable Mentions

Some of the jokes out there were just okay, and not particularly amazing. We’re collecting them here, and can expect more throughout the day:

  • Razer’s Razer Ping! service is funny to look at, but doesn’t really make much sense. It’s like a Google Lens app that can replace talking to your friends in real life.
  • Logitech says it’s rebranding its wireless mice to be “hamsters” because mice have tails and hamsters don’t.
  • A Drone Dog Walker from Thumbs Up seems vaguely worrying for the dog — what if the drone just flies up too high? What happens to the poor dog then?
  • Dbrand is selling actual AirPower skins for the canceled AirPower. As they put it jokingly: “With AirPower skins, our mission is simple: take your money by any means possible.”
  • Elon Musk released a heavily Auto-Tuned rap song called “RIP Harambe” on SoundCloud. ‘Nuff said.