What Was Google’s April Fool’s Prank? The Gmail "Mic Drop" Backfired Like, Whoa
April Fool's Day is here — the day when anything read on the Internet must be taken with a grain of salt and given a wide berth of skepticism. Search engine behemoth Google has always been one to partake in the April Fool's fun, having announced hoaxes disguised as features across their platforms for the past 16 years on April 1. So what was Google's April Fool's prank this year? Google announced Gmail Mic Drop on its blog Thursday: "Simply reply to any email using the new 'Send + Mic Drop' button," the blog post reads. "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."
And the icing on the April Fool's Day cake? The "feature" also inserted a mic drop GIF from the Minions movie before it nuked your email conversation thread into oblivion. At first glance, the Google prank certainly earns a chuckle or two — until Gmail Mic Drop backfired so spectacularly overnight that Google was forced to prematurely remove the feature.
Here's how it was supposed to work: Gmail users click the orange Send button to Mic Drop their message — a button placed entirely too close next to the actual Send button:
In turn, recipients of said Mic Drop emails were treated to an adorable Minions GIF placed at the top of the email message — in addition to whatever text was added to the body of the email:
Unfortunately for Google, it didn't anticipate the myriad of ways that Gmail Mic Drop could wreak actual havoc across inboxes around the globe on Friday. Many people use Gmail as their professional emails — and the playful prank turned into business nightmares overnight as people sent emails thinking they hit the regular Send button, but instead clicked the Mic Drop button. Some users even claimed that Gmail Mic Drop cost them their jobs, according to multiple postings in the Gmail Help Forum:
Google keeps the laughs coming! 24 more hours to go! pic.twitter.com/6WOjjGiZS4— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) April 1, 2016
Other frustrated Gmail users reported that, while they didn't lose their jobs, they lost out on opportunities to pursue new ones, as prospective job applicants inadvertently sent their resumés with Mic Drop to recruiters. And then there was this particularly cringe-worthy screenshot of an email accidentally sent with the Mic Drop button — from a funeral home to a grieving mother:
WHAT A HARMLESS APRIL FOOL'S JOKE, WHAT COULD GO WRONG pic.twitter.com/Maw8a6VUSA— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) April 1, 2016
And as if the problem wasn't widespread enough, the prank happened to people who weren't trying to prank others, thanks to a bug with the Mic Drop button: Users also reported that in certain instances, the Mic Drop feature would execute even when clicking the regular Send button. After the massive backlash overnight, Google updated its blog post with the following statement with a sincere apology for the unintended April Fool's mayhem they caused:
Google advised those users who are still seeing the Mic Drop button to reload their Gmail inboxes. So much for that whole "don't be evil" thing, right Google?