Gmail Mic Drop April Fool backfires badly on Google

Gmail users not seeing the funny side of Google’s practical joke.

Gmail Mic Drop April Fool backfires badly on Google

I hate to be a kill joy, but I think the traditional of internet firms playing April Fool's jokes may have just jumped the shark.

As is their tradition, Google launched a number of April Fool's tricks on a not-so-unsuspecting public today including Google Cardboard Plastic, an Android app for searchable socks, and other nonsense.

How the world clutched its sides in hilarity, and then promptly got back to work.

Apart from, there was one problem.

One of Google's japes was to insert a new button into Gmail, right next to the Send button.

"What could possibly go wrong with that?" I hear you all chorus.

Well, if you made the mistake of pressing the new "Send + Mic Drop" button your recipients would receive an animated gif a King Minion dropping a microphone... as well as the message you sent them.

Which might be very amusing (the first couple of times) if you are casually emailing a friend.

But it's a lot less funny if you are sending a serious message, responding to a job advert, or - as in one of the examples collected by web developer Andy Baio - making a prayer request.

Prayer request

Perhaps Andy makes the point best in an animated GIF of just how easy it is for Gmail's dumb Mic Drop joke to go wrong.

Mic drop

Worse still, any email sent with "Mic Drop" is subsequently muted, meaning any replies will waltz past your inbox meaning you won't get to see them.

Ummm... I can imagine some situations where that might be appropriate, but I can think of a whole lot more where that's the worst way you can treat email, especially if you click on the button by accident.

Oh, and then there was the revelation that Google's implementation of the "Mic Drop" functionality was actually buggy - meaning that it could be activated even if you pressed the normal send button! Sheesh...

Google has now removed the Mic Drop button from Gmail:

"Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. 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."

I know of at least one person who has reacted to Google's antics by closing down his Gmail account:

"I am totally pissed off at the April Fools nonsense that Google pulled this morning. What other magical things can they do to our mailboxes without our consent?"

I suspect he's not alone in feeling like that.

There's enough wrong with email as it is without Google buggering it up further.

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10 Responses

  1. BrianL

    April 1, 2016 at 6:21 pm #

    Hear, hear. It's time that Google grew up and concentrated on problems that users find important, which they are SO reluctant to solve – as is evidenced by reading several of the user forums.

  2. Michael Storck

    April 1, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

    Just another reason the Outlook still tips Gmail resoundingly.

  3. Valerie McGilvrey

    April 1, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    Googe needs to stop eating all that sugar and bouncing off the walls. The rest of us have real work to do and it's annoying as hell.

  4. Barb Dwyer

    April 1, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

    I like to think that I have as much a sense of humor as anyone else (although it comes with a slight twist of wry), but I'm not seeing the funny in this (never mind the black humor). Is this one of those David Letterman-type things? I never found a single thing he ever said as slightly humorous – and goodness knows I tried. Too each their own, I suppose. Goes for jokes and email clients, eh?

  5. Zoey Barkow

    April 1, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

    i know a few peeps at Gurgle. but they were trained and educated with honour and business etihics in mind. unlike those idiots that founded gurgle, especially Larry Page and Sergey Brin, what a couple of d3rpZ. m3g4F41l

  6. April Fool

    April 1, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

    what a bunch of babies. Use a free email then bitch about it?
    How about go pay for your own email server and do as you please.
    WInjing babies

    • coyote in reply to April Fool.

      April 2, 2016 at 1:46 am #

      It's not that simple. Even then, some ISPs use different mail providers; I don't know if any use Gmail but I know some use e.g. Yahoo. Then what? Not everyone is going to have the knowledge to use anything else.

      But there are wrong ways and wrong places to pull pranks. Incidentally, some people lost their jobs from this 'joke':

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35941806

      '
      "Thanks to MicDrop I just lost my job," claimed one user on Google's product forums.

      "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 MicDrop send button."

      Another complained that they had been having interviews for a job with a company for three months and then accidentally sent a mic drop email to the HR department.
      '

      But Google doesn't care about anyone or anything but themselves, so with that in mind this isn't really unusual.

      • JungleMartin in reply to coyote.

        April 5, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

        Claims are not facts.

  7. Jour

    April 2, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

    Gmail is a "free" thing to use and people still complain stuff like this happens, they should worry about the fact that Gmail will give complete access to law enforcement agencies if presented with a official request. Now that's serious shit if you are misbehaving.
    Google employees won't lose sleep if some users drop the mic to their service, we are talking free here.
    People complain too much, nobody lost a job because of this joke at least not until they actually show proof such thing did really happen to them. If so they should try to reach google and ask for a free minion…:-P
    You can resend emails and companies do understand shit happens.
    Too much drama on the internet these days, I miss the old times.

  8. Javier

    April 5, 2016 at 12:12 am #

    Confirmed. Google is for children, Outlook is for business. I stay away from google mail and Android as much as I can.

    The thing is that they change things around even without users consent.
    Google themselves recognized the error afterwards.

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