Google Goes All Out for April Fools’

Creates smell-based search and turns YouTube into a contest

What does an Egyptian tomb smell like? Google Nose knows.

Ah, April Fools.' You can't believe everything you see, read or, in the case of Google, smell. Google went all out for Google Nose, the new "scentsation in search," complete with a website, pretty good tagline ("smelling is believing") and video. 

The oh-so-serious video features an earnest product manager, Jon Wooly, talking about his puppy's sense of smell: "This is how she gets information about her world." Nerdy Doug Smith, the engineering lead on the product team, provides the "science" behind Google Nose. "Photo auditory olfactory sensory convergence is a phenomenon that's been promised in science fiction for decades," he said.

All a consumer has to do is click on the Google Nose smell button to access Google's "aroma indexing program" of 15 million scentibytes, a new measuring unit.

We don't have time to "smell the roses," but now with Google Nose beta, "the roses are just a click away."

Not all thought Google's prank to be genius. "Google's nerdy April Fools' joke is just not as funny as they may have thought because it is not as far-fetched as they may believe. We think we are more likely to see smell-sensing consumer devices marketed before we see self-driving cars and possibly before we see wearable computing, such as Google [Glass], adopted at scale," wrote Bernstein Research senior analyst Carlos Kirjner. "It is an OK April Fool's joke, but not that funny."

Google must love April Fools' because it also said in a blog post that eight years of YouTube was nothing more than a very long contest to find the best video. It will announce the winner live at 9 a.m. PT and then resume the announcement for 12 hours every day for the next two years. You can watch here. There are already more than 9,000 people waiting for it.

But wait, there's more! Google turned its Maps app into a treasure hunt and turned Gmail into Gmail Blue. "It's Gmail, only bluer." A great line from the Gmail Blue video: "How do we completely redesign and recreate something while keeping it exactly the same?"