Google kills own April Fools’ Day mail prank after flood of angry feedback

Google kills own April Fools’ Day mail prank after flood of angry feedback
Google abruptly withdrew its April Fools’ Day prank for Gmail, which could send a dismissive reply to an email in one click, after angry users complained it made them inadvertently offend friends and family, and in some cases lose their job.

The feature called "Gmail Mic Drop" added a new button right next to Gmail’s regular reply button. Clicking it would mute and archive the conversation and send a reply with a gif animation of a minion – a character from the comedy animation Despicable Me – dropping a microphone.

"Email's great, but sometimes you just wanna hit the eject button," Google explained the new function’s purpose in a tongue-and-cheek blog post. "Like those heated threads at work, when everyone's wrong except you (obviously). Or those times when someone's seeking group approval, but your opinion is the only one that matters (amirite?). Or maybe you just nailed it, and there's nothing more to say (bam)."

Google, however, failed spectacularly on the ergonomic side of the prank. The new button replaced the often-used "send and archive" button and was not made distinct form Gmail’s regular, non April Fool's functions. Many users, who misclicked it, took to Twitter and Google forums to say how they had accidentally dropped the mic on their bosses, clients, friends and loved ones and how it was not amusing.

One user writing on the Google help forum claimed that it cost him a new job.

"I just sent off an e-mail with my resume to the first person who wanted to interview me in months," he wrote. "I clicked the wrong button and sent it with the mic drop. Well, I guess I'm not getting that job. Words cannot describe how pissed off I am right now. I'm actually shaking. One click, ONE CLICK and I lost the job. Goddamnit. Not funny, Google. I'm going to go cry now."

Another said he lost his current one.

"I am a writer and had a deadline to meet," he wrote. "I sent my articles to my boss and never heard back from her. I inadvertently sent the e-mail 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 offence 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."

Designer Andy Baio mocked up a worst-case scenario for the feature, in which funeral proceedings planned over email were interrupted by the gif.

Facing the backlash, Google killed the prank function and said it was working on recalling all emails affected by mic drop.

“Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year,” the company said. “Due to a bug, the Mic Drop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry.”