Google's April Fool's Day Prank Was An Epic Fail

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 

Gmail users were not pleased with Google’s April Fools’ Day prank

Google learned a very important lesson on this most magical of April Fool’s Days; and that is to not fuck with people’s email accounts that they might use for any number of important reasons. Gmail users applying for jobs, emailing a boss or client, or even a significant other had an unwelcome surprise today when Google rolled out it’s “mic drop” feature. The internet isn’t happy. And that means heads will roll.

The “mic drop” button was unveiled this morning, where Gmail users could send an email that would include an animated gif of a “Despicable Me” minion literally dropping a microphone. Very sassily, I might add.

While it might have been funny to casual users with nothing at stake, it was no laughing matter for people who use their Gmail accounts for professional purposes. By hitting the button, which was directly next to the regular “send” button, the email conversation was automatically muted, which means the sender never saw the aftermath of sending the gif to their intended recipient. It also means they were led to believe the email was deleted and unrecoverable.

Oh boy.

A quick perusal of Gmail’s “help” forum shows the various ways this little prank royally pissed people off. One man claims to have lost his job after inadvertently sending a mic drop email.

Thanks to Mic Drop I just lost my job. I am a writer and had a deadline to meet. I sent my articles to my boss and never heard back from her. I inadvertently sent the email using the “Mic Drop” send button. There were corrections that needed to be made on my articles and I never received her replies. My boss took offense to the Mic Drop animation and assumed that I didn’t reply to her because I thought her input was petty (hence the Mic Drop). I just woke up to a very angry voicemail from her which is how I found out about this “hilarious” prank.

Others thought it was just plain unprofessional, even if they hadn’t suffered any irreparable damage.

Seriously Google? You mess with peoples’ email like this. I use gmail for my one-man business. I can’t afford for you clowns to mess around with my business. I use google for everything, but I need to rethink my online solutions. You can’t even be bothered to get rid of that stupid conversation view for mobile – after how many years of complaints? And now this. Clearly you can’t be trusted with my email if this is the level of respect you give to your users.

And others might have been prevented from getting a new job altogether.

This mic drop is perhaps the most stupid thing you could possibly come up with. I have been interviewing with this company for 3 months now and mistakenly sent the email directly to guess who? The HR! Why would you do that? I so want this job; was due to start on Monday!

Twitter user Andy Baio showed exactly how dangerous this little “prank” was in a series of tweets that have since gone viral.

Oh, Google. Why hast thou forsaken us? The internet is unforgiving — and has a memory like a steel trap. If you do something stupid, it’s basically preserved for all of time and an email account is a bad place to make that kind of error. There’s enough room for error without a button that could make you look like a complete asshole to the wrong person. Baio is correct — the damage as a result of this prank is only just beginning.

Some users on the Gmail help forum pointed out that Google’s email service is “not a business tool,” but that’s unfair. Many small businesses use free email services like Gmail not to mention the millions of people that apply for jobs through email. Or send funeral arrangements (holy awkward). This simply wasn’t cool, Google. There are plenty of other ways the company could’ve had an April Fool’s laugh that didn’t involve messing with people’s actual lives.

For their part, Google quickly put a stop to the prank and issued an apology on their blog.

“Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. Due to a bug, the MicDrop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry. The feature has been turned off. If you are still seeing it, please reload your Gmail page.”

Ugh, Google. Just, ugh. Hopefully, after possibly ruining lives or at the very least, a whole day for some of its users, Google will look to a more innocuous April Fool’s prank for next year. This one definitely fell flatter than a pancake.

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