Manaphins? Edible pizza boxes? April 1 is here

(CBS/WTSP) -- Breaking News! There's irrefutable proof that a newly discovered marine mammal is a cross between a dolphin and a manatee.

In fact, a recent sighting of the legendary "Manaphin" was confirmed just off the coast of Pinellas County.

If you believe that, check your calendar. It's April 1, a time for pranks of all kinds, and companies and even PR firms are jumping into the tomfoolery as well.

The manaphin comes courtesy of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, who issued a press release Tuesday morning touting the confirmation of the aquatic beast, long "thought to be long extinct." The Tampa Bay area tourism bureau even went so far as to create a website dedicated to the cryptozoological "discovery."

Over the years, April Fools' Day has been particularly embraced online, as fake announcements, dramatic pictures and fabricated websites do their best to trick the Interweb populace at large.

This year Virgin America and Nest started the fun a day early with a announcement about offering passengers personalized climate control in airplanes. The cleverly produced video on Monday showing a Nest thermostat on the back of every airline seat next to the video monitor. Fliers will be able to choose a custom climate setting to help them adjust to the city they'll be landing in, the airline says. You can choose from Chicago Polar Vortex, standard day in Los Angeles or Cancun Afternoon.

The prank is also a great way to advertise both companies and their products.

Twitter users raved about the idea. "What a fantastic partnership between @virgin and @nest!" wrote one user. "Driven by innovation," gushed another. "Go Virgin! How about free Wi-Fi, too?" asked another.

Google, never one to let an April 1 pass unscathed, said it is creating a new job with the title of Pokemon Master. In a jaw-droppingly slick video -- this is a company with $60 billion in cash sitting around, after all -- Google says it's laying down a "Pokemon Challenge" in which people navigate to different locations on Google Maps.

The Pokemon Master will be the person who finds every Pokemon hidden in real-world locations. And smartphone users are reporting that you actually can find Pokemon images at different places on Google Maps. This person found one named "Munchlax" on a map of the Empire State Building.

To start the game, fire up the Google Maps app on your iPhone or Android phone, click on the search bar and then click the "press start" button. It's very easy to "catch" the Pokemon just by clicking on them.

Also getting into the spirit of things, pizza chain Domino's has announced the Edibox, a pizza delivery box made entirely out of crust. The U.K. arm of the company said that the crust is overwhelmingly the most popular part of the pizza, and customers often want more crust after finishing their meals. It's including a garlic and herb dip for the crusty box, it says.

"And the best bit? You won't have to fight to fit that square box into a round bin -- this is a waste-free dining experience," the company said.

Online pranks are a daily event for Internet users, of course. Lately there have been hoaxes galore, such as the gadget that was reported to turn water into wine in three days. Users of the $500 "Miracle Machine," as it is called, can mix water with a few ingredients, wait for a few days and then enjoy wine that is indistinguishable from the real stuff, an online video claims. The machine was later revealed to be a hoax in order to promote nonprofit group Wine to Water.

The Internet is pretty jaded when it comes to these pranks. That's why the most effective company jokes get people involved and using products in new ways, and by that measure Google's Pokemon Challenge seems to be winning so far.

This ain't no April Fool: Shark pictures!


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