April Fools' Day 2016: Google kills off Gmail 'mic drop' feature after outrage from users

Google said: 'Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year'

Doug Bolton
Friday 01 April 2016 11:13 BST
The Google logo outside the company's HQ in Mountain View, California
The Google logo outside the company's HQ in Mountain View, California

Google has turned off the 'mic drop' April Fools' Day joke on Gmail after it angered and inconvenienced users.

The joke took the form of an additional 'send' button which allowed Gmail users to instantly end any email conversation by 'dropping the mic'.

As Google put it: "Simply reply to any email using the new 'Send + Mic Drop' button. 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."

After pressing the 'mic drop' button (which was right next to the normal send button), an animated GIF of a mic-dropping minion was added to the top of their email. The conversation was then muted, and users would get no further notifications if the recipient emailed them back, although the email would appear in the little-used 'All Mail' folder.

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After facing a backlash from users, some of whom accidentally insulted friends, lost jobs and angered colleagues, Google has disabled the feature, just hours after it was launched.

In a statement, the company said: "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. The feature has been turned off. If you are still seeing it, please reload your Gmail page."

Alongside the statement, Google stressed the feature was not made available to Gmail business customers, and explained users were notified about the button when opening emails.

However, their warnings clearly went unnoticed for some. One user wrote on Google's product forum this morning: "This is horrible - just sent an email to a client with this stupid icon on it. I can't afford these stupid pranks!"

Another user, a freelance writer, claimed the button had lost them their job, after their boss assumed the minion GIF was a criticism of their editing skills.

One particularly foul-mouthed forum user summed the situation up, writing: "Do you f****** think that when it's April 1st my email is something I f*** around with?"

Google's April Fools' jokes are usually pretty good, but this one failed disastrously. Hopefully they won't try any similarly hilarious gags next year.

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