Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Google hoaxes

I don't know why I am so inclined to Google and everything that goes with it - the success, the failure, the blemish, the errors, the hoax. I don't know. But I like Google. This time around I am going to recollect every bit of the hoaxes that had circulated on behalf of Google. I feel for the darn hoaxes twice so far - once in 2002 and the latest in 2007.

Come to think about it, there have been so wonderfully worded and marketed news about newer products that Google was fishing out and every time this happened and I got to know either by word of mouth or by an internet article, I would be dying to know more and if possible use that.

What happened in 2002 and 2007 were just unbelievable though very well marketed. Let's do a peek a boo at all the hoaxes that have come a long way and why and how I fell for the darn ones. The reason why it is very very misleading is because Google Inc, markets genuine products too during April Fool's day !

So lets date back a while on the April Fool's day in 2000, Google announced one of it's audacious expansion plan. This time it is not the internet, but it was through reading the readers mind. The tool Google MentalPlex was nothing short of expectation. The "MentalPlex" search technology meant that it supposedly read the user's mind to determine what the user wanted to search for, thus eliminating the step of actually typing in the search query. Further, the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) was full of it. It was a good set up for the users to fall in and I did not fall for it (Perhaps I was not much of an Internet savvy guy then) Who knows? Fact is I was not mis-led (proud!). Again, this is just a small example to show how much the computer sciences and factual jargons mis lead even the most educated one. For instance, read what this search engine was proposing to do, though ridiculous and tell me if you did not fall for it.

That was the end of 2000, and in 2002 April Fool's day, Google reveals the technology behind its Page Rank System — PigeonRank. I fell for it ! Though it looked lame yet I fell for it because it the reason that Google came up with. Google touts the benefits of this cost-effective and efficient means of ranking pages and reassures readers that there is no animal cruelty involved in the process. However now, when I read this the article makes many humorous references and puns based on computer terminology and how Google PageRank really works.

Then 2 years later in 2004, Google outfoxed everyone ONCE again. This time it was the Google Lunar/Copernicus Center. This was about a fictitious job opportunities for a research center on the moon. Luna/X (a pun to Linux as well as a reference to the Windows XP visual style and Mac OS X) is the name of a new operating system they claimed to have created for working at the research center. LOL ! Too funny.

Soon after this gimmick, in 2005, it was time for Google Gulp - A Google Drink ! According to the company, this beverage would optimize one's use of the Google search engine by increasing the drinker's intelligence. It was claimed this boost was achieved through real-time analysis of the user's DNA and carefully tailored adjustments to neurotransmitters in the brain (a patented technology termed Auto-Drink). The drink was said to come in "4 great flavors": Glutamate Grape (glutamic acid), Sugar-Free Radical (free radicals), Beta Carroty (beta carotene), and Sero-Tonic Water (serotonin).

This hoax was likely intended as a parody of Google's invite-only email service called Gmail. Although ostensibly free, the company claimed the beverage could only be obtained by returning the cap of a Google Gulp bottle to a local grocery store: a causal loop. There was a Google Gulp FAQ as well for this !

This was a bigot or rather a funny sequence of events that Google managed to showcase year after year on the April Fool's Day. In 2006, it was Google Romance, this time it took time to take a dig at the online dating sites - more to www.match.com and few others who were pounding their drums at the helm claiming the match people based on 48 compatibilities ! Smart folks in Google is all I can say. It even claimed "Dating is a search problem. Solve it with Google Romance." It pretends to offer a "Soulmate Search" to send users on a "Contextual Date".

Finally for the year 2007, the real highlight, to which most of us fell for. It was the TISP. Google Toilet Internet Service Provider ! The way they marketed the product was unbelievable. This became the talk of the town for a little while at work, in the malls, among our friends in the US. This was a hoax nonetheless. But still. This is what they had to say about their product: This service would make use of a standard toilet and sewage lines to provide free Internet connectivity at a speed of 8 Mbit/s (2 Mbit/s Upload) (or up to 32 Mbit/s with a paid plan). A user drops a weighted end of a long, Google-supplied fiber-optic cable in their toilet and flushes it. Around 60 minutes later, the end would be recovered and connected to the Internet by a "Plumbing Hardware Dispatcher (PHD)." The user then connects their end to a Google-supplied wireless router and run the Google-supplied installation media on a Windows XP or Vista computer ("Mac and Linux support coming soon"). Cannot believe I fell for this !!

Also, in the same year, the most funniest thing of them all : Gmail Paper hoax was published across most of the Google sites. The crux of the issue was it was a service offered to allow users of Google's free webmail service to add e-mails to a "Paper Archive," which Google would print (on "96% post-consumer organic soybean sputum") and mail via traditional post. A pictorial representation of how it works !

Oh yea come to think about Google Moon too. This was the Lunar Landing sites with Google taking aim at NASA now to make fun of them coz they have had a very bad few seasons at work. Then there was Google Maps and Google Ride Finder (View taxi or shuttle locations in one of the following cities)

All this happened through the last 6-7 years and how vulnerable we are to complex jargons is all I could think of. But I still think it was a great marketing gimmick and the audacity and funny that a Corporation wants to take a dig at everyone around. A mockery at this point of time just continues to amaze me that Google still has not lost the funny bone ! also, at the same time, Google has ensured that it has a response for everything and anything that is available in the internet. Soon it is going to present itself as a major competition to Microsoft office kits.
Fantastic!

It was at the same time around that many more great inventions were made to help make our life more easier.

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