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For those that enjoy pranks, there is no better day than April 1. Also known as 'Fool's Day' it is the one day of the year when light-hearted tricks are not just accepted but welcomed! Nobody knows how this fun tradition started. Some think it began in 1582 when the world moved away from the Julian calendar, (that began the new year in April) to the current Gregorian calendar. Others think it was to celebrate the onset of spring.
No matter the reason, April Fool's Day is now a worldwide celebration, one that is observed by both individuals and corporations. While the pranks pulled by the former are usually short-lived, those conjured up by companies are sometimes so believable that they have people fooled for days. Here are some of our favorites.
Autonomous Office Chair
Last year, German car manufacturer Audi released their latest engineering feat - An autonomous chair that could not only transport employees around the office, but also sense when they needed a bathroom break or were craving a cup of coffee. Even better? Its face recognition technology would allow occupants to avoid people they did not wish to meet. The chair even had built-in airbags to protect the driver in case of accidents. Too bad the video was released on April 1, 2015!
Search giant Google is all about April 1. Every year, the California-based company unveils numerous spoof products and services that look genuine enough to fool millions. In 2015, they took it up a notch with the introduction of Elgoog. Available under the URL com.Google, it was a mirror image of Google's search page except for one thing — Just like the site's name (Google spelled backward), the search results were horizontally flipped.
To say that Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin Group loves this day is an understatement. Each year, the company goes all out to fool people with incredibly realistic pranks. One of the best ones was in 2013 when the company introduced an aircraft that featured a glass-bottom allowing passengers to see what they were flying over. The announcement that coincided with the airline's new service to Scotland appeared to be so genuine, that people even shared it on their social media pages!
In the United Kingdom, even supermarket chains get into the spirit. Last year, Tesco announced a feature that was music to the ears of any short shopper that has tried to grab a product from a store's top shelf — Trampolines. Though the bouncy aisles would have certainly helped, the store, unfortunately, was just pulling an April Fool's prank on its customers!
And if you think corporations are just getting into the April Fool's Day spirit you could not be more wrong. They have been fooling people for centuries.
In 1878, the front page of the Daily Graphic featured an article about Thomas Edison's latest invention — A device that could transform soil into vegetables and meat, and water into wine.
Given that the inventor was the genius behind the world's first phonograph, there was little reason to suspect that the article was anything but the truth. In fact, several newspapers even wrote follow-up articles that praised the scientist's brilliance. It was only a few days later that they realized that the 'invention' had been revealed on April 1!
The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) is known for its serious programming, which is why it has been fooling people for decades. In 1961, the television station aired an interview with a professor who claimed to have created a machine that would enable viewers to detect food aromas through their television. He asked the audience to test the "smell-o-vision" by letting him know if they could smell the coffee and onions that were in the television studio. Sure enough, thousands of people called in. Some even claimed that the strong onion aroma was making their eyes water!
While nobody knows what these corporations have in store for the unsuspecting public this year, it sure will be fun — At least for those that don't get pranked!
Happy Fool's Day!