With the industry still absorbing the consumer delay of Windows Vista until next year, the folks at Microsoft have had little to smile about lately. But that hasn't stopped the company from offering a humorous MSN search site for the second year in a row to celebrate the "April Fools' Day" holiday.
The site, www.msnsearchspoof.com, will be online for the next two weeks, the company said. April Fools' Day, a day when people are encouraged to play practical jokes on one other, is celebrated annually on April 1.
According to the site, it is a "parody tool that uses fake (but hilariously accurate) search results to gently mock friends, bosses or people who just need to be teased."
The joke search engine allows users to type in someone's name and search for humorous results based on personality profiles chosen from a list.
For example, if one types in the name of Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates [cq] and clicks on the personality profile, "The Slacker - Work is so overrated, man," one result that comes up is the following: "Gasping Bill Gates faints at local ball game after walking to concession stand."
"'Between the long trek from the parking lot and then this grueling walk to get a hot dog and a soda, I don't know how I lasted this long,' Bill said when he revived," the spoof result reads. "'I came here to watch a game, not play one.'"
"Relentless entrepreneur Bill Gates sells tickets to own deathbed," crows another search result that is served up after one enters Gates' name and clicks on the trait, "The Tycoon -- Pyramid schemes are for sissies."
For more personalized fun, users also can type in someone's name and tweak search results by attaching real qualities of that person to the search, such as physical traits (bald, out of shape), personal style (goody goody, busybody), lifestyle traits (neat freak, cheapskate) or interests (sports, entertainment).
Using Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer's [cq] name and attributing the "hyperactive" trait yields a result that, while not true, could very well explain Ballmer's tendency for boisterous outbursts during keynote speeches: "Scientists claim mind-bogglingly hyper Steve Ballmer 'must have been bitten by a radioactive shrew.'"
"It's the only theory that makes any sense," Dr. Geena Triskedelos [cq] explains in the search result. "Our lab research basically suggests that Steve must have suffered the same kind of incident as Spiderman, only instead of gaining super-strength and web-slinging ability, Steve displays a super-human inability to, uh, sit still and shut up."