There was once a time—dream of it—before the internet. In this time, April Fools’ Day was, at most, a day when kids attempted to do something mean to their classmates. You know, trip them or something. Make them eat hair. Adults, for the most part, didn’t give a shit about it, though some probably did, and that was probably incongruous with their age but also sort of entertaining and unexpected.
That day has past. Nobody likes April Fools’ Day anymore, perhaps least of all the brand creatives charged with imagineering a wacky, gently subversive, self-aware stunt or purported new feature for their corporate overlords. You sort of wonder if in back offices, advertising creatives, a dead look in their eyes, admit to one another in quiet moments that they aren’t feeling it this year. They wish they could just take a pass on the whole thing for once.
And yet, lo, it is the final weekday before April 1, and so here is Netflix Live, a pretaped 48-minute stream of Will Arnett gruffly describing the various objects in front of him. (You will need a Netflix account to access it.) There’s a copier, a burrito, a microwave, etc. He talks about all of them. It’s a joke; it’s not real.
And here is Roku suggesting snacks based on what you’re watching. It’s called SnackSuggest, and it suggests garlic fries if you’re watching The Vampire Diaries and “finger foods” if you’re watching Santa Clarita Diet. These are jokes.
Hulu has announced Hu, which is another new service that is a joke—it’s not real, you can’t use it—and it will shorten all your TV shows to under 15 seconds. The reasoning for this is apparently video games and smartphones. There are some examples, and they’re extremely short. They’re not real.
Ikea apparently pissed people off by suggesting that their kids should just play with tablets, and Google has transformed your Maps app into a Ms. Pac-Man game that uses your real street address, which, wait—that one’s actually cool. Fine, Google gets a pass.
We’re done though, right? The Verge spoke to the curator at a museum of hoaxes, who offered some guidelines for surviving the day, including asking yourself: Is it before noon? Most April Fools’ Day hoaxes occur before then. But when we’re celebrating April Fools’ Day a day early, all bets are off. Trust nothing and no one, particularly not if it’s the announcement of a new feature or product from a Silicon Valley monolith.