Google's April Fool's Day pranks is an awesome way to get free PR. Google creates a small application around search and then they release on the Internet. And all this is done with as much fan-fare and secrecy as an actual product.
They have played a lot if interesting pranks over the years and no wonder the entire world waits and watches what they would do this year. What is amazing is that even though people expect them to do things on 1st April, they still manage to come up with something that can surprise the world.
Lessons for companies? Start small things like April Fool's Day pranks that can grow bigger with time and people will actually look forward to reading about it. And all these things count in the end. Especially for a small and a growing company.
List of Google April Fool's Day pranks over the years
1. gDay with MATE
2. Google Romance
3. Virgin and Google's Virgile
4. Gmail Paper
5. Google Mentalplex
8. Google TISP
Did I miss something?