The very best April Fools jokes have just enough truth in them for somebody to secretly want them to be true, and to be delivered in such a way that the person being pranked isn't 100 percent sure the joke's on them.
On the Web, Google has made this a black art of sorts, between their "launch" of Google Romance and Google Mars, interspersed with their very real launch of GMail in 2004 that had everybody confused as to whether anybody in their right mind would offer a full gigabyte of e-mail for free. We all know how that turned out. It was real. Those of us (including me) who were sure it was a prank were fooled.
This year, it looks like the blogosphere couldn't keep quiet long enough for the calendars to officially flip to April 1 in the United States. TechCrunch kicked off the festivities by "announcing" they had acquired Phil Kaplan's F***edCompany.com, effectively bringing their coverage of the startup space full circle - from their launch to their eventual death. Many people, including Dave Winer of Scripting.com, were fooled. This was no doubt due in part to ValleyWag's earlier coverage that the famed dotcom deadpool site was up for sale.
That one was good. Very good. Mathew Ingram thought so as well.
Now, Robert Scoble is back from his self-imposed blog exile, saying that Apple is set to release yet another i-Device, called iReader, in collaboration with Cingular, Amazon and Google. I guess if you make up a rumor, you might as well go whole-hog and drop a bunch of company names in there. I'm surprised Nintendo didn't make the cut. He went the tried and true Apple rumor route, citing an unnamed Apple executive dumb enough to use it in public. It might have been too soon for Robert to return to the blogosphere, but hopefully his scoop won't rank among the best by the conclusion of tomorrow.
Last year's April 1 pranks were pretty good. My favorites were Slashdot.org's changing their look and feel from industrial green to My Little Pony pink and China offering to buy Google. (See last year's summary here)
We look forward to more silliness in this most silly of holidays.