Google’s media front, and most notably YouTube, has been a hotbed of innovation since Google’s acquisition of the sites (and, yes, even before). That innovation doesn’t stop at productive, user-oriented features, though. Every April 1st, Google lets their sense of humor out to play, bringing all their creativity and coding skills to bear to make some “just for fun” features for YouTube and other media sites. This April Fool’s, we were taken back to the year that YouTube began – 1911, apparently.
The “100 year anniversary” features of YouTube could be seen across the site. Those coming to the home page saw a selection of videos and a format that was true to the presentation back in 1911, and included videos from the early 20th century. Every video could become an “old time” video, though, with just the click of a button. This 1911 toggle switch allowed users to turn the video to a sepia tone with a grain wash, and replaced all sound in the video with the sort of track found in silent movies.
Some unique videos were also added to celebrate the occasion, including remakes of several popular viral videos of today. These top 5 viral videos of one hundred years ago included a spoof on the famous “bed intruder song” (where viewers were encouraged to “skiddoo your wife, skiddoo your kids” because there was a buggy intruder in Lincoln Heights), a video that replicates the “annoying orange” video with old-school cinematics, and even a video where viewers were expecting a car accident but were instead “Ruth Rolled” (a 1911 take on the “Rick Rolled” internet meme).
The YouTube blog even replicated their April 1st, 1911 blog, where they had President William Howard Taft as a guest blogger. Taft explained how crucial it was to capture the events of the day, such as the discovery of radiation of the launch of the Titanic, on YouTube videos. The blog entry and 1911 viral videos remain on the site, and likely will remain permanently, while the home page and video style button have been removed. Assuming that Google follows its pattern from previous years, though, the home page and button may show up on an alternate version of the site in the near future.
[via the YouTube blog]