Few holidays have benefitted from the Internet like the first of April, which tech industry marketing teams increasingly seem to accept as a challenge to announce the most creative, eye-catching, just-shy-of-believable news they can.
And from Google to Salesforce to Samsung to Google to Groupon to Facebook to Google (seriously, the Mountain View, Calif. tech giant announced at least five new products or services around the world today, including the searchable socks pictured above), there were plenty of companies carrying on that tradition in 2016.
Google adds, then removes, “mic drop” feature for Gmail
Anyone who’s found themselves embroiled in an endless cycle of “reply all” emails at the office will appreciate Google’s new feature, which not only removes users from a group conversation and deletes it from their inbox, but loudly announces to every other participant that they’re doing so with a cute Minion GIF.
Sadly, it would appear that certain users were less than enthused with the service, and it was removed a day after its March 31 release.
OpenTable releases app you can taste
Mobile technology can already create a map of your face, so why not your taste buds? That appears to be the thinking behind OpenTable Taste, a new feature released today by the San Francisco-based dining app which quite literally allows users to try before they buy.
Hipsters rejoice: Virgin Mobile releases FaceCase Beard Edition™
Virgin’s newest smartphone case includes mustache wax, trimming scissors, and a “beard bib” for those moments when you find yourself with nowhere else to deposit your stray hairs.
Experience reality with Google Cardboard Plastic
“The things that make virtual reality compelling have been with us for tens of hundreds of thousands of years,” a developer intones in the release video for Google Cardboard Plastic, and indeed, it doesn’t get any more realistic than this revolutionary headset, which among other features includes four-dimensional visuals, 360-degree sound, and 20/20 resolution (depending on the user’s eyesight), and is compatible with all existing physical activities and smartphone apps.
Sony releases the world’s first ghost-catching device
Footwear maker Nike and enterprise software developer Oblong have nothing on Sony when it comes to bringing movie-based technology to life, with the Tokyo-based company announcing today that after 30 years of development, it has successfully released the world’s first working proton pack, which it promises can be used to “capture content from a parallel dimension.”
Fashion retailer H&M announces new ‘Mark Zuckerberg’ collection
Like many in the tech industry, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg isn’t exactly known for his eclectic fashion choices – but with that predictability comes a certain elegant simplicity that allows Zuckerberg and other high achievers to focus on what matters most.
That appears to be the thinking behind H&M’s newest line, which the Stockholm-based retailer released today.
Samsung enters wearables market with new IoT offering
Seoul-based tech giant Samsung has entered the wearables market in a big way, announcing a line of smart jeans it calls the “Internet of Trousers.”
Combining high tech with high fashion, the new pants incorporate ARTIK Smarter Fashion chip modules to provide such features as Wi-Fly, which notifies users if their pants remain unzipped for more than three minutes; Get Up!, which uses mild electrical shocks to encourage users to move around after long periods of inactivity; and Fridge Lock, which prevents your refrigerator from opening should the tension around your waist get too high.
Avoid typing in those pesky words with Google emoji search
Billed as “the next revolution in photo search,” Google Photos’ newest feature makes it a ☮️ of 🎂 for users to 🔎 📸, by allowing them to replace words with 😋.
Read to your cat with Groupon’s new service
Sure, our feline friends enjoy pouncing on laser pointers, mice, and bits of string – but as every cat owner knows, their real hunger is for such animal-centric literary classics as Stephen King’s Pet Sematary.
With Groupon’s new in-house Cat Reader service, users can hire one of four readers – severely underpaid library scientist Beth (above), pumpkin farmer Heavy Breathin’ Pete, English literature professor Chet, or a “Mystery ’80s Sitcom Star” – to visit their home and share one of nine titles with their cat.
Wonder Workshop wants to teach your dog to code
Silicon Valley startup Wonder Workshop, which sells a pair of robots that teach kids how to code, today announced its newest step forward in making computer science truly accessible to all: WonderPaw, a coding app for dogs.
YouTube’s new “SnoopaVision” feature gives fresh meaning to the phrase “high definition”
In the fifth and final appearance of a Google subsidiary on this list, YouTube announced today the beta release of its newest, most-requested feature: The ability to watch any video in 360 degrees… with rapper Snoop Dogg.
Unleash your inner superhero with Airbnb
“Every hero needs a hideaway,” goes the slogan for travel industry disruptor extraordinaire Airbnb’s newest service, Lairbnb, which is aimed at the superpowered, supernatural, and superfanatic markets.