Article by Taylor Romano | esPResso Staff Writer
Google fooled themselves on April 1 this year and no one is laughing. The company pulled their 16th annual April Fools Day prank by adding a new button to Gmail, “Send + Mic Drop” which would mute the thread of the email and attach a GIF of a minion, dressed as the queen dropping a mic. This ‘joke’ created serious issues for employees and intervened in other personal situations.
In theory this joke sounds funny, however a lot went wrong in its execution. Google acknowledged their mistakes in two separately written apologies posted on the Official Gmail Blog. Google stated that they realized they should have asked for confirmation before sending the animation, should have placed it further away from commonly clicked buttons such as “Send” or “Send + Archive”, and addressed the fact that was a bug which would sometimes send the animation without the user pressing the “Send + Mic Drop” button.
These problems were first brought to Google’s attention after one user; Allan Pashby posted their unfortunate story online to Google’s Blog:
“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.”
Another devastating story went viral on Twitter:
Let’s not forget that once the GIF gets sent, any reply will not be received. Google failed to recognize the importance its feature of Gmail serves to its users. There are family matters, business operations, and other personal uses for Gmail that should not be messed with, and left affected users outraged and confused.
There is nothing more Google can do then apologize immensely after they shut down this new feature and can only hope the problems their joke created can be solved.
The backlash Google received was not what they expected. They posted the joke and its purpose, to give people a chance to get the last word without responses back. They tested the mic drop feature with friends and family and got nothing but positive feedback. “Sending email is so much easier when you don’t have to worry about people responding!” and “Mic Drop is a huge improvement over Mute! I can finally let everyone know I’m just not interested.” Google meant no damage to their users and was just looking for some laughs.
Regardless of this ‘prank gone wrong’, the public will still be looking forward to whatever Google has planned for next years April Fools Day.