Tuesday, 2 April 2013

YouTube’s April Fool prank: ‘We’re shutting down’



April Fool’s day has always been a favourite with Google. In past years they have used the day to give voice to some really outrageous ideas like Gmail Paper  and offer fictitious job opportunities for a research center on the moon.

And this year they have pulled out all the stops.

In an elaborately produced video featuring a number of YouTube stars like the (now grown up) brothers who starred in “Charlie bit my finger” and David – from “David after the dentist“, YouTube CEO Salar Kamangar said that “we started YouTube in 2005 as a contest with a simple goal: to find the best video in the world”, and that after eight years of ‘accepting submissions’ the site would now shut down.

The video also featured “competition director” Tim Liston who said “distinguished” film critics, YouTube celebrities and some of the site’s “most prolific” commentators would watch every single video on the site over the next ten years in order to find a winner. “Your work has ended but ours has just begun. It’s going to be an exciting decade”, he says – before adding that the site would reopen in 2023, featuring only the winning video.

As for criteria – apparently popularity would not be a factor, with “Gangnam Style” having the same chance of winning as a “man filming himself throwing bread to ducks”.

As far as believability goes, it’s hard to imagine that this video would have fooled everyone. But as CNet notes, “While the notion that YouTube has been a 8-year-long contest and Google is finally choosing a winner and shutting the site down tonight is pretty hard to swallow on its face, Google did shock many people by announcing the shutdown of Google Reader recently. Perhaps Larry and Sergey are beginning to go all Howard Hughes on us?”