Google’s ‘mic drop’ April Fools’ prank backfires big time

(CNNMoney) — Ooops. That wasn’t very funny, Google.

Google’s April Fools’ prank backfired Friday, making a lot of users very angry and forcing the company to take it down early.

The company announced Thursday it was introducing a “Mic Drop” feature in Gmail, placing a new orange “Mic Drop” option next to the regular send button.

It was designed to end email chains by attaching a gif of an angry minion dropping a microphone, and effectively shutting down the conversation.

“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,” Google explained in a blog post announcing the gag.

Google traditionally rolls out fun features on April Fools’ Day, leaving them live for a couple of days. Last year, the company delighted users by allowing them to turn Google Maps into Pac-Man game.

But this year’s gag didn’t go as planned, after a number of people accidentally clicked the button while sending professional emails.

“This is horrible — just sent an email to a client with this stupid icon on it. I can’t afford these stupid pranks!” one user complained on Google’s product forum.

Another user had a similar experience: “I hit this thing by accident in a professional email sending a contract. This is ridiculous and not funny at all. Remove it please!!!”

After just a few hours, Google decided to kill the feature, realizing it was not as funny as originally intended.

“Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. Due to a bug, the Mic Drop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs. We’re truly sorry,” Google said in a statement.

“The feature has been turned off. If you are still seeing it, please reload your Gmail page,” Google said in the statement.

“UPDATE: We heard feedback that some of you were negatively impacted by this feature, so we quickly turned it off late last night. In addition, we are working to bring back Mic-Dropped messages that had subsequent replies to your inbox, so you can read those.

We realize many of you use Gmail for very important messages, and we are sorry if Mic Drop was in any way harmful to you. Note that if you’re a Google Apps business, education or government user this feature was never turned on.

At Google we have a culture of sharing what we learned when things go wrong, and we want to share these learnings with you:

We should have asked you before turning on the feature, and it should have included a confirmation before sending.

We didn’t anticipate accidental clicks: “Send + Mic Drop” was too close to other send buttons (“Send” as well as “Send & Archive”), which caused confusion.

And yes there was a bug. It was rare, but possible to press the regular “Send” button and still Mic Drop if you did the following:

  • Opened a new compose window
  • Pressed the “Send & Mic Drop” button with no recipients and saw error message
  • Edited the message by adding message recipient(s)
  • Pressed the regular send button.

Again, sorry. We love April Fools jokes at Google, and we regret that this joke missed the mark and disappointed you.” – Crystal Cee

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