Tag Archives: Gogol

Google Doodles For April Fool’s Day: Can You Spot The ‘Valid’ Doodle?


Anura Guruge

A Few Related posts:
>> All Of Google’s Doodles & Games … — Jan. 16, 2013.
>> Link To Google’s ‘Zamboni’ Game … — Jan. 16, 2013.

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Google is noted for its brilliant April Fool’s Day pranks.

Last year they announced the extremely funny 8-bit Google Maps. Just Google for all their other pranks. Wikipedia even has an entry titled: “List of Google’s hoaxes and easter eggs” .

But google has been quite circumspect when it comes to Google Doodles for April 1, i.e., April Fool’s Day. Here are three from 2009, 2010 and 2012. There wasn’t one for 2011.

Are they all pranks?

No. Only one is a bona fide joke. Can you tell which one that is?

One relies on some poetic license. Can you spot that one.

The other is truly legit, though it is very clever.

Никола́й Васи́льевич Го́голь with his trademark nose. But, he wasn’t born on April 1. Neither did he die on April 1. He was a ‘March’ man: was born and died in March.

Yes, the 2010, ‘Topeka‘ renaming was a ‘joke‘, though rather tame and obvious. Topeka, Kansas, more of less forced Google’s hand by making an official announcement, covered by the media, on March 1, 2010, that they were renaming Topeka, Kansas, ‘Google’, Kansas for a month. So, Google retaliates, so to speak. But it was very obvious.

Nikolai Gogol is real! Honest. He was Russian and only those that truly have an appreciation of world literature would have heard of him. That Google found him was so cute. Bravo. But, they did take some poetic license, which to me, spoilt it. Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (Никола́й Васи́льевич Го́голь) WAS NOT born on April 1, 1809! He was born March 31, 1809. And Google can’t claim that it was April 1 in the U.S. At best it would have been March 30 in the U.S. So that was cheating.

The ‘VLT‘, standing for ‘Very Large Telescope‘ is very real and it did indeed go public on April 1, 1999. And the names are correct too. So that one is legit, though I have issues with the graphic. The laser shown shooting out of the 4 telescopes is not a common occurrence. Yes, they do shoot a laser to determine atmospheric distortion so that computer software processing the captured images can compensate for it. This is called ‘Adaptive Optics’. Yes, it looks cool, but as an astronomy buff I worry that it creates the wrong impression and that kids, especially, might form this notion of telescopes that shoot lasers into the sky on a routine basis.

The VLT at sunset.