Google April Fools’ Day Prank Backfired

Google / Tech
Gmail April Fools

As is tradition, Google released more April Fools’ Day pranks. Some of them are quite hilarious, like Snoopavision, added to YouTube, and the Google Cardboard Plastic. However, not all of them are so harmless, it turns out.

Google added the option to send an email through Gmail with a “mic drop.” The option inserted a Minions gif at the end of the email and also permanently muted the email thread. Unfortunately, Google also decided to put this button in the spot usually occupied by the “Send and Archive” button. I guess you can imagine the rest.

Today, Gmail is making it easier to have the last word on any email with Mic Drop. Simply reply to any email using the new ‘Send + Mic Drop’ button. Everyone will get your message, but that’s the last you’ll ever hear about it. Yes, even if folks try to respond, you won’t see it.

Gmail Mic Drop

This caused more than a few problems. Gmail is used by over a billion active users and a good percentage of them use the service for work and business. While this prank wasn’t activated for Google Apps users, there are still a good number of people who make do with Gmail for professional emails.

There was almost immediate backlash over this change. Many took to Twitter to express their frustrations. Here is what Andy Baio, former CTO of Kickstarter, had to say.

Google’s support forums started filling up with complaints from irate users, one of whom claimed to have lost their job after using this on a work related email. Several others mentioned using this inadvertently on emails to clients, and important contacts.

All of this led to Google pulling this feature shortly after launch. Pretty quick turnaround time. The company apologized via the official blog.

Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. 😟 Due to a bug, the Mic Drop 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.

Some are sure to bring up the fact that Gmail is a monetarily free service and that users shouldn’t complain if Google has some fun. While the service is free, you should remember that Google’s primary source of income is still advertising, much of which is obtained by serving personalized ads using data mined from, among other services, Gmail. In fact, to get an idea of how much info Google is gaining by reading your email, you should take a look at this video that popped up on a Reddit thread yesterday. A man, who lost his father, was read a condolence message by Google Now. The message was lifted from an email the user received.

Google’s other pranks for this April Fools’ Day are much less harmful. They’re mostly just humorous announcements, such as Snoopavision and Google Cardboard Plastic, an “actual reality” headset.

Google is certainly continuing its tradition of announcing something that sounds crazy on April Fools’ day. In fact, funnily enough, Gmail was originally announced on the 1st of April, leading many to believe it was a prank. We just hope their future pranks are less harmful.

  Source: Google Blog
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