Sunday, April 1, 2007

April Fools: Google Pushes Loo-Based Home Broadband, Gmail Printouts

Leave it to Google to come up with some ideas which make for good April Fool's jokes - but that carry a grain of...something. Google TiSP is a nifty kit that you can use to tune in broadband wireless services from your nearby water closet - yes, your toilet. A send-up of Google's oft-rumored plans for new networks via everything from broadband wireless to electrical utility lines, it is reminiscent of the tongue-in-cheek whiteboard snapshots from the Googleplex circulated now and again online. The other 1 April send-up is Google Paper, a handy service that lets you get crates of email printouts with which to paper your home - complete with "relevant, targeted, unobtrusive advertisements, which will appear on the back of your Gmail Paper prints in red, bold, 36 pt Helvetica," as well as glossy photo prints for graphics files. As far as environmental consciousness, "Gmail Paper is made out of 96% post-consumer organic soybean sputum, and thus, actually helps the environment. For every Gmail Paper we produce, the environment gets incrementally healthier."

Good fun, of course, but one wonders whether these are altogether just pranks or handy smoke screens for tossing curious people off the scent of related projects a little more connected to the reality-based community. With a highly fragmented U.S. marketplace a Google broadband wireless service would be problematic but that's not to say that Google may not be willing to be a networking pioneer elsewhere in the world. At the same time Google's numerous initiatives to provide advertising in traditional media outlets would not make an ad-supported custom print service in the next few years far-fetched. Take a look at these send-ups to get a good chuckle but keep a keen nose about as the scent of these little jokes begins to wear off a bit. As Google extends its services to include office automation, ecommerce services and, perhaps, its own computer operating system, stranger things could happen.
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