(Microsoft)

April is the cruelest month, if only because it begins with the cruelest and most cringe-inducing holiday. Today is — sigh — April Fool’s, a 24-hour bonanza once devoted to fun pranks and child-like mischief, long since taken over by corporate PR stunts and terrible, Dad-jokey Internet hoaxes. Of course, that stuff is so common year-round, at this point, that one would think (hope??) that April Fool’s Day had become redundant.

[On the Internet, every day is April Fool’s]

But since that’s apparently (and unfortunately) not the case, we compiled this tally of all the April Fool’s “jokes” to hit the Internet today. As always, please send any major shenanigans we missed to caitlin.dewey@washpost.com.

From the "fannybasket" to the "selfie shoe," here are some of the funniest April Fools' Day spoof ads from BMW, Target, T-Mobile and Microsoft. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

Fake product launches

  1. Ikea KÄT: the world’s “first cat-proof sofa,” made of … corrugated cardboard. Cardboard furniture is an actual thing that exists, but it doesn’t look like Ikea’s promotional photos. And a search for KÄT in Ikea’s Japanese store, where the couch has reportedly been available since January, turns up nothing.
  2. Domino’s driverless pizza delivery: The pizza chain claims to have developed the world’s “first autonomous delivery vehicle,” in which a Wall-E like creature, affixed to a bike, brings your pizza to you. Driverless technology is, of course, neither that advanced nor that cheap. Also, the Domino’s “division” that developed the vehicle doesn’t exist.
  3. Jimmy John’s drone delivery: Not to be outdone, the sandwich chain tweeted its own futuristic delivery promotion, slated for April 2015. Later, @jimmyjohns followed-up: “I love #AprilFoolsDay, drone you?”
  4. Uber for Tinder/Tinder for Uber: a rare cross-company collaborative prank that claims to match interested riders with single Uber drivers, who will split their fare with them. They call it “an innovative disruptive way of emotional commuting,” a phrase with so many buzzwords it simply has to be fake. This stunt also notably looks a whole lot like “UberSex,” a fake app created by a disgruntled Uber driver in early March.
  5. Uber for Lions (… and Elephants and Planes and Boats): Maybe Uber’s various global offices could coordinate next year to save us this glut of pranks. Someone may specifically want to check in on Uber Thailand, which faux-promised on-demand boats to help people caught in that country’s severe, often fatal, floods. (Promo code: “HELPIDONTLIVEONAHILL”)
  6. The so-called “selfie shoe”: USA Today was one of several outlets to fall for this promotion from shoe-maker Miz Mooz, which improbably promised to transform your outstretched leg into a selfie stick via a slot in your shoe. For starters: How many people can hold their leg that high for that long…? (“USA Today has confirmed that this is an early April Fool’s Day joke,” the paper clarified later on.)
  7. Whole Foods’ tattoo parlors: America’s most overpriced grocery chain is really getting into the April Fool’s game, announcing a conventional-to-organic food converter, in-aisle TVs, plant-based underwear, and “flavored oxygen” recipes. The store’s most believable stunt, however, might be the new tattoo parlors coming to “select stores,” where customers can get inked with “vegan-friendly cold-pressed beet and kale inks.” At least Whole Foods knows its audience!
  8. A bookmark that wakes you up when you doze off while reading: A British bookseller claims to have invented this genius device, called the boo!mark, to sound an alarm for readers whose breathing slows. In a clever wink to the skeptics in the audience, promo photos of the boo!mark are taken in front of Raymond Chandler’s “Big Sleep.”
  9. Microsoft Office for Cats: featuring such covetable products as “PowerPounce,” “OneNap” and “Meow.” This is only funny because the cat in the Microsoft’s press photos is holding a literal mouse.
  10. Groupon’s dog-barking e-course: a six-week online course that will allegedly teach you to speak to your dog. (Everyone knows only Cesar Millan can do that!) The daily deals site, in a further desperate bid for relevance, is also running a weird hoax called “Grøüber — Uber, except with cats. 
  11. Redbox’s Petbox: a miniature DVD rental kiosk that serves up pet-themed movies — for, you know, your pet. Petbox is actually the name of a real monthly subscription service, which may explain why Redbox has already abandoned the gag.
  12. Hulu for Pets: Because pets and video are apparently a winning combination, Hulu also claims to have launched a service for pets today, complete with tiny trailers for a variety of punny pet-themed shows. (Note to any Hulu employees in the audience: I would absolutely watch “The Real Pugs of Portland.” Please make that for real.)
  13. Petco’s selfie stick for dogs: … isn’t that much crazier than a GoPro dog harness or the “Big Button app,” is it? This is also one of the less annoying fake-products, because it does give you a 20-percent off coupon if you click into it.
  14. Goodreads’ dating app: a dating site that matches book-lovers based on what they read actually isn’t all that far-fetched; after all, Tastebuds has been doing that for music-lovers since 2010. We’re going to go ahead and call this one a fake, though: There’s no other excuse for in-app notifications like “you and [match] want to turn each other’s pages!”
  15. Hailo Piggy Back: like Uber, except for piggy-back rides. (Why do even April Fool’s jokes take that formula?!) As if this premise wasn’t obviously fake enough, Hailo’s “head of personal transportation product,” Olaf Spirls, does not exist.
  16. Twitter’s Twelfie Stick: a selfie stick that, as the dreadful portmanteau suggests, tweets your self-portraits once you’ve taken them. The stick’s component material, “unobtainium,” is famously not real. Twitter has also not trademarked the term “twelfie,” though someone else recently did.
  17. TOMS’ “ActGIVEity” tracker: a wearable that tracks your acts of kindness, rather than your steps. “Love mine and the program,” one woman wrote on Facebook, which makes approximately zero sense.
  18. LinkedIn Magic Mirror: an alleged new feature on the professional networking site, which algorithmically analyzes your uploaded photos and automatically edits them to depict you working your dream career — like “cat wedding coordinator.” Or “GIF curator.” While such “algorithms” and editing programs don’t actually exist, LinkedIn does get one thing right: your profile picture is pretty critical on the Internet.
  19. Trulia’s roommate-rating app: the real estate company points out, rightly, that “your home is only as nice as the people you let in it.” Which would make ROOMer a pretty useful app, if it weren’t 100% fake.
  20. PlayStation Flow: a gaming “wearable” that lets you play games underwater — in other words, a Wii Fit band for the pool. It’s perhaps worth noting that PlayStation’s proffered wearable tech manager, “Ariel Ingannare,” can hardly keep a straight face in the promo video. (Ingannare is also the Italian verb for “to fool” or “to dupe.”)
  21. Google “Dial-up” mode: a feature for Google’s high-speed Fiber users, which returns them to the tortoise-like Internet speeds of yesteryear. (The YouTube comments on the “announcement” of dial-up mode are surprisingly confused as to whether it’s a joke.)
  22. Google Smartbox: a “smart inbox” that “fuses physical mail with everything you love about the electronic kind” — like notifications when you have new letters and spam filters to stop junk mail. It is, importantly, only “available” to people using Inbox by Gmail.
  23. Motorola’s handcrafted selfie stick: “To me, a selfie stick is not just an accessory,” a bearded, dramatically lit artisan says in Motorola’s (pretty funny!) promo video. “It’s an extension of yourself.” (“Ok,” Motorola later admits on its website, “handcrafted selfie sticks aren’t a thing.”)
  24. AirBnB’s portal to the past: I’m not sure if a fantastical, time-traveling bug in AirBnB’s code, added “by an intern” six years ago, constitutes a fake product launch. It’s definitely … something.
  25. HTC’s “smart sock”: a sock that can, among other things, receive texts and find its mate when it gets lost. (Useful!) The sock is, of course, not real, nor is “Notifeetcation” — the allegedly trademarked name for its text alert. All other shenanigans aside, the trademark would have been cool.
  26. Samsung’s “smart knife”: An Internet-connected knife actually sounds like a fairly reasonable idea, but Samsung’s “Galaxy BLADE edge” took that concept way beyond reasonable — basically affixing a really sharp phone to a handle. As April Fool’s jokes go, this one makes very little sense. But at they baked in a few good cooking references?
  27. Bing’s “Palm Search”: a far-fetched feature that claimed the also-ran search engine could read your mind by scanning your hand when you place it on the computer screen.
  28. SunLife Beard Insurance: … this should probably exist.
  29. Google Panda: a voice-enabled search function that basically works like Apple’s Siri — but is housed in a talking, animatronic stuffed panda.
  30. Kim Kardashian jelly mold: … you know, in case you’d like to eat Jell-O in the shape of Kim’s famous derriere. The mold, which confesses that it’s not real when you try to buy it, is one of several pranks in the store of British e-retailer Firebox: a Kanye-endorsed energy drink and an endotracheal selfie “stick” are also fake.
  31. Pizza Hut’s pepperoni-flavored beer: It’s actually very difficult, and unusual, to make a meat-flavored beer. But otherwise — why not? Stranger things have been brewed before.
  32. Reebok’s “Swet” perfume: The athletic clothier is presumably not making a fragrance that smells like human sweat. But Reebok spent some money on this hoax: an Instagram “ad” for the perfume was reportedly made by the massive ad firm M&C Saatchu.
  33. The National Zoo’s sloth cam: … would be wonderful, but apparent footage from the cam is actually just a six-second Vine. Sloths, of course, don’t do very much. But we’d still check in on their cam from time to time!

(Tinder for Uber)

Fake news

  1. Pornhub does not have a ground-breaking report on porn-viewing habits in North Korea. While that would admittedly be fascinating — I mean, there are a lot of very sexy statistics here — it would also be impossible, given North Korea’s very limited Internet. Another hint that this is fake: the Korean characters at the bottom of every chart and graph say “April Fool’s Day.”
  2. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, did not confirm the existence of “the Force.” This is probably pretty obvious, since CERN’s announcement quoted “theorists” like Ben Kenobi “of the University of Mos Eisley, Tatooine.”
  3. Richard Branson is not moving Virgin USA’s headquarters to Missouri. The British billionaire confused and annoyed many in the small town of Branson, Mo., when he announced in a corporate blog post (and a tweet, and a big email blast) that the U.S. subsidiary of Virgin would soon open headquarters there. The confusion was heightened by the fact that Branson’s mayor seemed to endorse the announcement, and that Branson himself has recently claimed a connection to the town. Branson, however, has a long history of pranks, and Mayor Presley later tweeted a link to a local blog that debunked the joke. Many in Branson aren’t laughing, though: “Seriously, not funny,” one man wrote. “You know this city is hurting.”
  4. Michael Jordan didn’t put Tom Brady in a full-body cast. This is one of several newsy sports tidbits debunked by our friends at the Early Lead, which you can read about in more depth here.
  5. There is no app that can stop your phone from breaking. The Observer did, however, post a lengthy and very enthusiastic article yesterday about such an app, called Chute, which claimed to use the iPhone’s vibration motor to turn it screen-side up during a fall. Chute was apparently a very sneaky, and oddly early, hoax by the marketing firm Boogie. For what it’s worth, Apple has patented a similar technology. And Boogie seems to feel bad about the joke/not understand the Internet.
  6. Scientists have not discovered evidence that dragons really lived. This comically straight-faced claim, published in the journal Nature, cites sources like Newt Scamander — a (fictional) zoologist in the Harry Potter books.
  7. John Green’s “Fault in Our Stars” sequel: … does not exist! Though Green’s Australian publisher tweeted that the book, “Not in the stars, to hold our destiny” did. Among the people to fall for the joke: Green’s American publisher and a million unhappy teenagers.
  8. Ex-Directioner Zayn Malik did not join Teach for America. You have to be a U.S. citizen to do that, for starters. And since only days have passed since Malik left One Direction, he probably hasn’t had time to complete the vetting progress. (Tbh, given the recency of Malik’s much-mourned departure, TFA was really pressing its luck with this.)
  9. The Israeli Defense Force did not thwart an alien invasion. Apparently not even foreign militaries are immune to April Fool’s shenanigans — though the IDF did manage to add a propogandist element. “The Israel Air Force won’t be dealing with alien invasions any time soon,” a blog posts on the IDF’s site closes, “but … IDF is undeniably prepared to cope with many other serious and real threats.”
  10. The U.S. Army is not delivering 3D-printed pizzas by drone. Our military has gotten into this too?!
  11. There are no such thing as “guide cats.” A major British foundation for the blind and visually-impaired announced today that it would begin training not only guide dogs — but guide cats, as well. Cats, of course, are monsters, and ill-suited to such a task. But the foundation urges its more gullible visitors to read up on sight loss while looking at its “would-be mobility cats.”
  12. The Islamic State is not exhibiting at a major contemporary art show. The editors of Hyperallergic, a popular art site, have helpfully tagged a lengthy article on ISIS’ Venice Biennale pavilion with the keywords “April Fools” and “LOL.”
  13. The U.K. is not replacing voting with Facebook posts and tweets. This hoax story from U.K.’s Mirror — incidentally, the source of a lot of fake news even at other times of the year — claimed that the so-called “Office for Estimation” will analyze Twitter and Facebook posts to determine parliamentary coalitions. That would be a scary development.
  14. Sam Smith is not straight. More important issue: Did this tweet fool anybody?

(Domino’s)

Actually good and not-contemptible fun

  1. Zoosk’s “Shakespearean” mode: The dating site just introduced “Shakespearean” as a language option, accessible from the language bar at the bottom of the settings’ tab. Select it to change all the text on the site to charming olde-Anglicanisms, like “seekith” (for search) and “thy castle” (for homepage.)
  2. Google Pac-Maps: turn any Google Map into a play-able Pac-Man game. This feature, which is great, disappears after April Fool’s Day.
  3. Imgur plays Imgur: Similar to the viral phenomenon “Twitch plays Pokemon,” “Imgur plays Imgur” involves outsourcing an activity usually done by one person to an Internet group. In this case, the activity is browsing Imgur, a massive image upload site; the randomness and chaos of controlling the browser with a bunch of other people means you get a pretty good tour of the site’s weirdness. (Also: I just found my new favorite GIF!)
  4. com.Google: the visual mirror image of Google.com, which is both unnecessary and impossible to read.
  5. Google’s #Chrome selfie: (seriously, does anyone at Google do actual work?!) a temporary feature in Google Chrome’s mobile app, which allows you to take a selfie reacting to whatever website is in front of you.
  6. Amazon retro: The e-retailer’s home page has reverted to what it looked like 16 years ago.
  7. Shirts.com’s Jurassic Park pop-up: If you search anything from the retailer’s homepage, a re-creation of the famous computer scene from the original “Jurassic Park” movie pops up.

(Google Maps, via Forbes)

Things that should be fake but aren’t

  1. Burger King’s “Whopper” perfume: Sam Byford, a reporter for the Verge, actually bought the “truly, unspeakably terrible” fragrance for $42 at a Japanese Burger King, where the limited-edition “Flame-Grilled Fragrance” will sell throughout April 1.
  2. Amazon Dash: an Internet-connected button that orders common household products with a single click sounds like an outlandish prank, a Staples commercial, or … the future of shopping. It’s apparently the latter.