One of the longest-running traditions on the internet is the embrace of April Fools' Day. Internet companies the world over play fun pranks on April 1st every year, keeping their customers and fans on their toes. The most infamous supporter of April Fools' Day online has definitely been Google. The company's embrace of the tradition has led to some truly epic laughs, as well as some high profile product launches. That is because Google has often used the day to announce products that, in the moment, seem like they might be pranks. Most notably, in an age where free email accounts offered 25 MB of storage, Google announced Gmail with 1 GB of storage.
This year, however, the humor of April Fools' Day is going to be significantly lessened, as Google has announced its intention to cancel all of the pranks. In a time where people are spending a lot more time online looking for information on the state of the world, the company believes that it would be the wrong time to prank the internet. Lorraine Twohill, head of marketing at Google, wrote to product managers,
This year, we're going to take the year off from that tradition out of respect for all those fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Our highest goal right now is to be helpful to people, so let's save the jokes for next April, which will undoubtedly be a whole lot brighter than this one.
It's a difficult line to walk this year. On the one hand, many of us could use a good laugh, and Google has always been good for that. Being sheltered in place has caused a level of stir crazy that the world hasn't experienced since F. Scott Fitzgerald's time. Many people have responded in the same way that he did - with humor. However, some people are expecting big companies to take a more serious tone, despite human nature. So, with that, there will be no psychic tulips or virtual screen cleaners in 2020.