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April Foolin'

Whatever you do, don't click on any videos on YouTube's home page today.

It's the first of April, so it's time for another round of Internet pranks. YouTube has executed one of the most audacious, or maybe just annoying, April Fool's tricks ever by pointing every home-page video link to the same clip of '80s pop singer Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up." (Sending people to this particular video--aka "rickrolling"--is considered funny, for reasons that this author may be too old to appreciate fully.)

Other branches of the Google empire are also doing their part for today by announcing such initiatives as a "new airplane" paper-airplane template in Google Docs, a "custom time" option for Gmail that allows mail to arrive in the past, a search feature that works one day into the future and a Mars colonization project. (The application to join that asks would-be Martians if waiting up to 40 minutes for an e-mail response would cause them to "die" or "rejoice," among other options.)

The writers of the TidBits newsletter have written a special 4/1 issue for years; the 2008 edition covers the launch of an iPhone that includes an Iridium satellite-phone receiver, reports that a federal court has ruled e-mail bankruptcy illegal, and announces that TidBits readers can now opt for a new subscription service that condenses each article into a 140-word summary, written in LOLCat and delivered via Twitter (for example, a recent piece on the role of security software on a Mac would read "Macs can haz virusez? No, U r doin good. But f u haz Windoze BFz, can iz in ur mail sistem. So u iz tell ur ISP 2 blok spam an virusez, k?").

Finally, I'm not sure if this counts as an April Fool's prank or not, but the Mosaic Communications Corp. home page has made a mysterious resurrection in its circa-1994 appearance. Take a look, and you'll probably feel a lot better about your own Web-design skills.

Seen any other good April Fool's jokes on the Web? Talk about them/warn people away from them in the comments!

By Rob Pegoraro  |  April 1, 2008; 12:01 PM ET
Categories:  Digital culture  
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