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Google Cancels Its Popular April Fool’s Jokes for 2020

By Rich Duprey - Mar 30, 2020 at 11:21AM

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The internet giant wants to focus all of its efforts on combatting the coronavirus pandemic.

Alphabet (GOOG 2.36%) (GOOGL 2.39%) doesn't think the coronavirus is a laughing matter, so its Google division is cancelling its annual April Fools' pratfalls "out of respect for all those fighting the COVID-19 pandemic."

According to an internal memo first reported on by Business Insider, Google is nixing its usual corporate light-hearted fare and is also asking employees to "suss out those efforts and make sure your teams pause on any jokes they may have planned -- internally or externally."

Girl laughing

Image source: Getty Images.

A time and place for laughter

Google has run April Fools' Day pranks for two decades -- even after the September 11 terrorist attacks -- and they usually span all of its properties. However, there has never been a national, let alone global, emergency playing itself out during the immediate period ahead of the holiday.

While some have tried to cancel April Fools' jokes in past years for various reasons, others argue pulling pranks on friends, family, and colleagues -- even on the internet itself -- is simply harmless fun. During periods of unrelenting dour news, it is a useful relief valve, a sort of gallows humor that breaks the oppressive gloom of the situation.

"Our highest goal right now is to be helpful to people, so let's save the jokes for next April, which will undoubtedly be a whole lot brighter than this one," Google's internal memo said.

There is certainly some sense to Google postponing such festivities, as it is busy ensuring critical, potential lifesaving information is readily available on the internet. It is developing websites to serve as a national clearinghouse for the coronavirus, risks, and testing.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares) and Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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