April Fools' Day roundup from around the web

TORONTO – Don’t believe everything you read on the web today.

In case you hadn’t clued in yet, it’s April 1 on the calendar — April Fools’ Day.

Some of the web’s heavy hitters — including Twitter and Google, which always goes overboard with pranks — have posted a slew of phoney stories designed to trick and amuse readers.

A list of some of the best:

— Google Nose: It’s billed as “the new scentsation in search,” the “sharpest olfactory experience available.” Google allows search by smell AND has come up with technology to transmit scents over the Internet. This gag runs deep. Search for “belly button,” “diaper,” “fresh baked bread” or “Grandmother’s closet” today and you’ll see a box at the right of the screen with details from the Google Aromabase (diaper’s smell notes are: baby powder and poop).

— Google Blue: Gmail like you’ve never seen it before. Blue, all blue. “You click on Compose, the button Compose: blue. The word Compose itself: blue. You write in the body of the email, the font comes up blue. You don’t have to make it blue. It just is blue,” says a Google employee in a slickly produced video for the product. “We tried orange, brown — brown was a disaster.”

— Google Maps treasure maps: Search for something on Google Maps today and look for the “Treasure” layer, which transforms the screen into sepia-toned graphics replete with cartoon trees and local landmarks, including the CN Tower, Niagara Falls and Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.

— Can I buy a vowel, Twitter?: In a bid to make communication even more streamlined and efficient on its social network, Twitter announces using vowels is now a premium service. Those not willing to shell out $5 a month for A, E, I, O and U (Y is always free) must instead log on to Twttr.

— Bigfoot sighting in Canada: Banff National Park announces an “amazing observation” made, a new species caught on camera near Lake Louise.

— “Star Wars” director J.J. Abrams recruits George Takei: The actor best known for playing Hikaru Sulu in the “Star Trek” franchise says he’ll play Master Ceti Maru, a member of the Jedi High Council, in the new upcoming “Star Wars” remake.

— HBO announces “Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage is being replaced by British actor Warwick Davis.

— TTC’s “personal car”: Toronto’s transit service announces it’s sectioned off a subway car where there are no holds barred, riders can exercise all their annoying habits — wear bulky backpacks, eat slovenly, crank their music, clip their nails — with no regard to common courtesy.

— WestJet, the pet-friendly airline: Any animal that can fit on one of its planes can now travel with WestJet, in the passenger cabin, without being confined to a kennel. It’s the airline’s new “furry family” program.

— Sony’s Animalia tech: Headphones for cats, TVs designed just for dogs? Tech toys marketed to pet owners who want the very best for their furry friends.

— YouTube has seen enough videos: YouTube announces that after nearly eight years of collecting videos, it’s nearly ready to stop accepting uploads and name one clip the best of the Internet.

Offline, others were also looking to get in on the April Fools’ fun by sending out fake press releases.

Bob Rae said he would run for the leadership of the federal Liberal party after all, noting: “I’ve changed my mind. That’s a lot easier than changing parties. So I will be Crazy Uncle Bob after all.”

And Swimming Canada sent out a release saying that two-time Olympic medallist Ryan Cochrane would be giving the bobsled chute a try for the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.