The four best April Fools pranks of 2012

Kangaroo with a camera attached to its head - Google April Fools Joke

This year April Fools was tucked away at the weekend, but the unfortunate timing hasn’t stopped some savvy businesses from making a statement and generating some added publicity.

Here are the best four April Fools jokes businesses pulled this year:

1. The IKEA allen key fool

IKEA alerted customers to a fake product recall yesterday, saying it had sold some the incorrect left-handed allen keys between 01/01/12 and 31/03/12.

“To exchange your incorrect key, we’ve provided a swap box at the store entrance today, April 1,” IKEA said in the ad, published online and in newspapers.

2. The 8-bit Google Map Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) fool

Google announced its 8-bit Google Map yesterday, which it said combines Nintendo with traditional Google maps and takes users on a quest to locations.

“With Google Maps 8-bit, you can do all the things you already do on regular Google Maps. Search for famous landmarks and sites around the world. Take an epic journey with 8-bit Street View. Get detailed directions to avoid dangerous paths, and battle your way through a world of powerful monsters and mystic treasures,” Google Maps software engineer Tatsuo Nomura said.

Google users were warned their system may not meet the requirements of the 8-bit computations, but Google said the maps would be in “Google stores” soon.

3. The Google Street Roo fool

Google also introduced Google Street Roo, giving users the ability to see the world through the lens of a kangaroo.

“Over the next four weeks, more than a thousand Big Red kangaroos will be equipped with a 360-degree head camera that will automatically capture images when the marsupial is on the move during daylight hours,” Google Maps product manager Andrew Foster.

Google even said it had implemented software to avoid motion sickness.

“We have also developed software that will smooth over the bouncing effect experienced with the raw data. Users will be able to move backwards or forwards in Google Street Roo as they would use Street View,” Foster said.

4. The Toshiba “Shapes” fool

Toshiba debuted its “Shapes” tablet yesterday, which come in the shape of an oblong, rhombus or love heart and promise to deliver a more personalised way of consuming information.

“Consumers have been telling us that they’re eager for products that match their personality and style. I think it’s safe to say that Shapes by Toshiba shows that we’re listened. And we’re not going to stop either. We’ve got a bevy of other shapes in the pipeline too,” Toshiba Shapes product manager Bob Forma said.

The product was available to purchase online from Toshiba’s eStore from 1 April.

What was the best April Fool you saw yesterday?

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