Google has apologized for an April Fools’ prank that backfired after users of its Gmail service lost jobs and angered friends and family.
The company added a “Send and Drop Mic” feature to the email platform on Friday, a widget that gives users the last word; when recipients try to respond to an email — which is accompanied by an animated GIF of a Minion dropping a microphone — the original sender never sees it.
“Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year,” Google said in a statement. “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.”
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Enraged users took to the Help Forum to inquire about removing the widget. User John Roberto commented, “Thanks for this feature. It not only cost me my job, but my sanity from losing my job and friends. Thanks Google. You guys are always helping the world, one step at a time, EVEN with ‘HARMLESS’ pranks like this on April Fools’.Why the Email of all places for a Prank?
“I sent two professional emails and accidentally hit the orange button,” wrote another. “It just says SEND on it. It doesn’t say anything on it about an animation or anything. Thanks Google for possibly losing me a job. Thanks a lot. I’m so angry.”
According to Mediaite, one user wrote, “I just sent off an email with my resume to the first person who wanted to interview me in months. 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 angered user said he got in trouble with his boss after accidentally using the feature.
“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 email using the ‘Mic Drop’ sendwere corrections that needed to be made on my articles and I never received her replies. My boss took offense (sic) 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.”
Other commenters urged Google to never pull an April Fools’ prank ever again.
According to the Telegraph, the widget was removed after about 12 hours.
See some tweets below.
I hope every other company learns a lesson from Google's fail today and stops doing April Fools gags. https://t.co/1AQtqprPSV
— Carl (@carlsewall) April 1, 2016
Maybe this will finally put an end to the insanity of April Fools Day on the Internet https://t.co/ZfzkUTz6Ap
— David Southard (@davidsouthard) April 1, 2016
reading about the gmail mic drop fail. google does have ux designers, doesn't it? #aprilfools
— charlene mcbride (@ursonate) April 1, 2016
— Dev Ambardekar (@DevAmbardekar) April 1, 2016
Google Realizes It's Not Okay to Prank 900 Million People https://t.co/alnxL7NkiX
— Zac Paladino (@Paladizm) April 1, 2016
I don’t know what’s more preposterous—receiving a Minion “drop the mic” Gmail or receiving ANY AOL email.#AprilFools
— Erik Bransteen (@erikbransteen) April 1, 2016
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