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Why Google Does April Fools' Day Pranks Even Though Everyone Hates Them

Jay Yarow

It's been April Fools' Day all day long. And it's driving some people nuts.

People in our Twitter feed, and people in our office, are bellyaching about all the "lame" April Fools' pranks they're seeing.

In the tech world, April Fools' Day jokes are all over the place. From news sites like TechCrunch, to tech companies like YouSendIt. Nearly every major company has some sort of prank.

But no company does April Fool's Day bigger than Google. In Steve Levy's book on Google he calls April 1 "the high holy day of Google culture."

It had 15 different pranks today.

While these things are whimsical, they aren't whimsical in approach, or execution. "The effort involves considerable organization, as ideas go through an elaborate approval process to find a place in the company’s ever-increasing roster of seasonal spoofs," writes Levy. He says they take months of planning.

Part of the reason Google does the pranks is to keep the company's loose culture intact. It wants to be a place where people can "play" and not turn into some boring corporation.

So, while the techno snoots might snort that Google needs to stop because it's a big corporation, Google would argue the exact opposite — it needs pranks and fun to keep itself from being a big boring company.

And to the people that think the jokes are lame, all we can say is that some people like them.

For instance, the world's number two golfer, Rory McIlroy tweeted, "Anyone else been fooled today by google nose!? I've been sniffing my phone for the last 10 minutes and not smelling anything!! Haha idiot! 😝"

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