Google attacks! Latest prank talks up mission to Mars

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

When it comes to April Fool's Day jokes, Google remains to king, or rather, the court jester. Today the company's elaborate prank was the announcement of an invitation to establish a human colony on Mars, a souped-up version of their real Google Lunar X Prize.

"Earth has issues, and it's time humanity got started on a Plan B," the company said on a website to announcement the competition. "So, 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 FAQ Google provides offers some excellently incomprehensible pseudo-science of how such a mission would be accomplished in a short time. By 2108, the company also said it will have stored "a full copy of the Internet on Mars as a physical backup."

(For those not sure if it is a joke or not, click here.)

It's all pretty silly and doesn't quite meet last year's plans to offer high speed internet through home plumbing systems, which managed to nicely riff off of U.S. senator Ted Stevens' infamous and oft-ridiculed assessment of the internet as a "series of tubes."

But it's still a step up from the announcement by Techcrunch's Michael Arrington that he was suing Facebook for $25 million US because the site used his name and image to announce to his friends every time he added a new application.

"Our attorneys believe that the use of my image and name in third party advertising is a violation of my statutory and common law publicity rights," he writes.

Arrington's joke doesn't quite work, though, because it sounds too plausible.

It also doesn't help that he made the announcement on March 31st, prompting one commenter to write "Next year I’m starting April Fool’s on March 30th."