Google made a prank for April 1, but didn’t count on an angry backlash from Gmail users who didn’t see the funny side.
The tech company set up a prank on its Gmail email service, but disabled it after receiving a stream of complaints from irate users. Gmail Mic Drop gave users the opportunity to send their messages with a minion “dropping the mic” GIF, writes Joon Ian Wong for Quartz.
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Google withdraws Mic Drop feature after complaints
A new send button gave users the chance to include the GIF in their message, while also disabling replies. “Today, Gmail is making it easier to have the last word on any email with Mic Drop,” Google’s blog post explained.
However it didn’t take long for the complaints to start rolling in. “I just accidentally hit it when replying to a very important email. I need to see the response. Does this feature actually prevent replies?” a user named RemoveMicDrop asked in the Gmail Help Forum.
Another user asked Google to “please, for the love of god, stop it with these stupid and unfunny April Fool’s pranks.”
Company blames bug for Gmail GIF withdrawal
Users berated Google after using the feature and ,missing out on important replies related to their business. At least two people said that they thought they had lost jobs because of the feature.
“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),” wrote Allan Pashby. He later received an angry voicemail from his boss.
Well-known technologist Andy Baio has taken it upon himself to bring together outraged responses to Mic Drop on Twitter. He was able to confirm that Mic Drop would be used even if the user clicked it once by mistake before eventually clicking the normal send button.
According to a Google spokesperson the problems were caused by technical issues. “Due to a bug, the Mic Drop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry. The feature has been turned off,” they said.
Google has a long history of April Fool’s pranks, and prides itself on being imaginative. This time around the company appears to have missed the mark.