doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

How I spent yesterday

We all know that yesterday was April 1.

Carbon tax day in Ontario or a chance to play tricks on people as part of April Fool’s Day.

Last week, I had read that Microsoft had indicated that there would be no jokes played on April 1.  But, we can always count on Google…

Screen Cleaner

This was kind of a cool way to spend a couple of minutes.  Allegedly, there was an external screen cleaner built into the Files application.  Not only now could you keep your Android device as clean as possible, you could clean the outside.

It’s a little bit of fun, to be sure.

But, what a great way to get people to download this application if they hadn’t already and use it to keep things clean on the inside.


Now, this was considerably more time sucking and rabbit hole-ish.


The classic game of “Snake” comes to Google Maps.  Play in your favourite city, if it’s included, or wander around the world.

Snake was started from a special addition on the main menu on the side.  The promise is that it will be around for a while.

There are a few more from Google for 2019.

And, Google isn’t the only one.

Check out this article for more April Fool’s gags.

And here is a list of all of the Google April Fool’s gags over the years.

Beyond the gags, though…

Easter Eggs and unexpected actions or mystery levels in games have been around for a long time.  It was the source of inspiration for a discussion with students about the ethics of doing it.

Sure, it can be fun, but if you’re using an application for its serious intended use and the prank actually makes it fail should be a cause for concern.  Google products, since they largely live on the web can get away with it since they’re not changing anything to your computer and can fix things once and it applies to everyone.  But, suppose that Microsoft decided to get cute with Microsoft Word in the name of a joke and you ended up breaking functionality – then it gets serious.

Lest I get too serious, I’m back to the Snake game.


Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.

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