Google’s April Fool Gmail Minions prank backfires horribly
Google has abruptly canned an ill-judged April Fools' Day prank which saw it briefly introduce a Mic Drop button adjacent to the send button on its Gmail software which sent an animated gif of a Minion dropping a mic and muted all further conversation.
The ‘Send + Mic Drop button’ idea was apparently dreamed up by a Google engineer as a means of cutting off any email conversation abruptly with a colourful gif, with all future replies on the thread muted.
I can't believe how short-sighted Gmail's "Drop Mic" April 1 joke is. It replaces the "Send+Archive" button, and attaches GIFs to sent mail.
— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) April 1, 2016
I did a little testing: Any email sent with "Mic Drop" is immediately and IRREVERSIBLY muted. Replies skip the inbox, with no way to unmute. — Andy Baio (@waxpancake) April 1, 2016
Unfortunately many use Gmail to run their businesses or otherwise hit the prank button without realising it and were understandably less than impressed by the results, sending some of those affected into an apoplectic fury on Google’s product message boards. Amongst the (barely) printable of which came from one user who wrote: “This has got to be hands down the most f***edstupid thing I have ever seen done to a business tool. You people are ass clowns.”
The @gmail team right about now. https://t.co/pBnY2IlqsW
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) April 1, 2016
Faced with this backlash Google quickly did some dropping of its own and ditched the Minions option. In a statement to TechCrunch, Google said: “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.”
And finally, The Drum reporter, John McCarthy, has picked his top four April Fools' Day brand pranks, do you agree with them.