Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Twitter the butt of many April Fool’s Day jokes


Internet companies played a lot of April Fool’s Day jokes on users today, including quite a few at Twitter’s expense.
TechCrunch ran an article listing the dozens of Internet pranks by Amazon.com, Expedia, Yahoo, Microsoft and many others.
As usual, Google outdid them all with a range of pranks, including a 3D version of its Chrome browser, upside-down viewing on YouTube, and an artificial intelligence program that can reply to your e-mails for you (see earlier post). TechRadar.com compiled a list of the “10 best Google April Fool’s jokes” from the last decade.
But in another example of the backlash against the popularity of Twitter, other Internet firms mocked the microblogging service in their pranks.
The U.K.’s Guardian newspaper said it was ditching its print edition and Web site and going all Twitter. “Experts say any story can be told in 140 characters,” it said.
The Guardian said Twitter has “radically democratised news publishing, enabling anyone with an internet connection to tell the world when they are feeling sad, or thinking about having a cup of tea.”
Meanwhile, Montreal-based Control Yourself, creators of open-source microblogging site Identi.ca, announced that it had acquired San Francisco-based Twitter for an undisclosed sum.
A news item about the acquisition on Control Yourself’s Web site, quoted a director of Twitter expressing relief at the deal.
“WHEW!! That was a close one!”, said the unnamed exec between slurps of champagne at San Francisco’s toney Gold Club. “I was worried we were going to have to make a business out of that whole Twitter thing! I’m really glad it’s someone else’s problem now.”
AdvertiseSpace reported that Google planned to acquire Twitter for $635 million in stock.
“Following the acquisition, Twitter will operate independently to preserve its successful brand and passionate, albeit, (borderline) neurotic community,” the press release says. “The combined companies will focus on providing a better, more comprehensive experience for users interested in tweeting, sharing daily drivel, spamming links and will offer … new opportunities for micro bloggers to distribute their boring lives to reach a vast new audience.”
Wired said Twitter planned to make money by selling a mobile microblogging device called the Wingman.
Razorfish announced the Tweet Doubler, an application allowing Twitter users to post 280-character messages.
Softonic touted a new service called Shouttr, a program that reads aloud tweets for you as they arrive.
U.K. Internet magazine Webuser reported that members of Twitter were going to be limited to one “tweet” per day to stop the Internet from reaching the saturation point.
Another news report revealed a secret Australian government plan to tax Twitter users 1 cent per tweet.
InfoWorld reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was adding Twitter to the national emergency response network.
Mr. Tweet will help you find your perfect date by analyzing your “tweetstream.”
And believe it or not, there were more Twitter-slamming pranks on April Fool’s Day. But I’ve run out of time and interest.

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