Silicon Valley is going out of business on Friday – NOT!

That’s right — it’s time once again for the annual Aprilfoolapalooza Festival, when otherwise upright and serious-minded companies in Silicon Valley and beyond get their jokester game on.

The creative types at Mountain View search giant Google, who have been spoofing their brains out each April 1 since 2000, are expected to build this year on their outstanding repertoire. That distinguished body of work includes hits like Google’s Gmail Blue spoof in 2013, wherein the company introduces a new product that renders Gmail blue. “How do we completely redesign something,’’ a guy asks in the accompanying video, “while keeping it exactly the same?” He answers his own question thusly: “The answer is Gmail Blue,” with the explainer that their popular email tool is now the color of blueberries.

Other perennial hoaxsters include Sony, which in the past has staged fancy press events to release products but without actually releasing anything at all, and Rdio Internet radio, which last year unveiled a listening services targeted to cats. The name? Rdio-Meowz, of course. (Cat jokes, for some reason, are huge among techies.) Rdio told those gullible enough to believe it that they were partnering with online pet superstars including Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub and Piano Cat.

There’s no idea to the nonsense, or the creativity fueling it. Some tech startups create not only an April Fool’s Day joke, but a slickly produced video to go along with it. You all remember that classic stunt by Groupon last year when it told fans “the future is meow’’ and said it was launching a not-too-real car-sharing mobile app to pair up human passengers with whiskered drivers behind the wheel.

This year’s shenanigans got off to a rousing start this morning, the eve of the big day, when inboxes around the world featured this tease from Virgin America: “1-day sale: Peep Our New Logo.’’ The spoof was damn near believable, until one sat through the accompanying video and began to put two and two together. You can see it here.

According to the April Fool Archive (not a joke at all) at The Museum of Hoaxes website, Virgin has an even longer history than Google in the annual April-jokes department, going back as far as the late 80s to stir up mischief.

And all around Silicon Valley on Thursday, the brainiacs freed up by their bosses to partake in a bit of drollery and horseplay were hard at work, preparing themselves to pull both your legs.

Just for fun, consider these two offerings, assembled by PR executive Taylor Saltzman with Chicago-based SSPR:

Wrike, a privately held project management application service provider based in Mountain View, is taking a step back in time and putting together a (fake) campaign where it will be sending out a million CD-ROMs with a free trial of its software, just like the folks at AOL used to do back in the day. Check out the video.

And Capterra, a software review site that features Bay Area companies like Salesforce, is launching a page of software solutions for dinosaur theme park managers. Which makes perfect sense, as Saltzman points out, given how things often tend to go wrong at such attractions.

Enjoy your Friday!

Above: A screenshot of a past Google April Fool’s Day joke: In 2011, Google said it would unveil Gmail Motion, which would allow users to control Gmail with their bodies. 

 

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