Thursday, April 03, 2008

That day of the year, again

Chennai, April 1 How will you feel if you can get tomorrow’s news today? Of course, with some technical help.

Google has introduced a new feature, enabling you to search content on the Internet before it is created ( .

It is called gDay and apparently is powered by MATE (Machine Automated Temporal Extrapolation) technology.

Says Google, “Using MATE’s machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques developed in Google’s Sydney offices, we can construct elements of the future..

“Google spiders crawl publicly available web information and our index of historic, cached web content. Using a mashup of numerous factors such as recurrence plots, fuzzy measure analysis, online betting odds and the weather forecast from the iGoogle weather gadget, we can create a sophisticated model of what the internet will look like 24 hours from now.”

Which means you “can use this technique to predict almost anything on the Web – tomorrow’s share price movements, sports results or news events. Plus, using language regression analysis, Google can even predict the actual wording of blogs and newspaper columns, 24 hours before they’re written!”

Another of Google’s plans is “Virgle”, a tie-up between Google and Richard Branson’s Virgin group. (

This is Google’s Plan B for us, because we are going to run out of space in our ancient Earth. So, Google says, starting in 2014, Virgin founder Richard Branson and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin “will be leading hundreds of users on one of the grandest adventures in human history: Project Virgle, the first permanent human colony on Mars.” The “plan” is called ‘VirGle’ : a combination of ’Vir’gin and Goo’gle’.

There are links to help you learn how to become a VirGle pioneer and to test your “pioneering potential”.

And if you use Google’s excellent calendar application, it has more for you. It is called “Google Wake Up Kit”. Google has launched this because “this problem became so serious at times that it sometimes resulted in lacklustre attendance at team meetings.” (

“In combination with the kit, you can receive a new type of notification from Google Calendar, called the “wake up” notification. This notification is relentless in ensuring your timely awakening from restful slumber.

“The ‘wake up’ notification uses several progressively more annoying alerts to wake you up.”
And for the ever-popular Gmail, it has a ‘Gmail Custom Time’ feature, where you can send email “to the past”. (

Interesting features, no doubt. But the only point here is that despite “coming from Google”, none of them will work. Because they are just April Fool pranks from the Internet giant.
The gDay page looks authentic with links to jobs in Google, press releases and a FAQ.

The FAQ “answers” all your “queries”. The only time you realise you have been conned is when you click the “Try gDay” link.

In Virgle, Google’s questionnaire has questions like what would you do if “I was unexpectedly confronted with the emergence of a bewilderingly alien and frighteningly advanced Martian life form which appeared bent on killing me if I failed to quickly and effectively communicate my peaceful intentions and potential value to its civilization”.

Clicking some of the links will lead you to a page where Google admits it’s an April Fool prank. But with the custom time ‘feature’, it gives no such indication. You will have to go to Gmail and search frantically till you realise it’s just one more April Fool prank from Google.

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