Big companies love April Fools Day pranks more than actual people do. It allows their marketing departments to show off how edgy and human they are. In terms of major Internet companies, Google has a history as a pioneer in “pranking” its users on April 1st. One year they announced a feature that you could “delete” regrettable e-mails that you sent people. Another year they promised high speed internet access via networks in sewer systems and toilets.
These fake Google products are an annual tradition for the company. But today it backfired big time, blowing up in the company’s face just a few hours after launch. They inserted a button in Gmail next to Reply All that they called the “Mic Drop” button. When you hit it, it automatically added a Minions mic drop gif.
BOOM! Perfect for those Friday work e-mail threads.
Hilarious and innocent enough, right? Wrong, especially when you think of how hundreds of millions of people use Gmail regularly for all kinds of communication where such a thing is hardly appropriate:
On Google’s product forums, others complained that the prank cost them their employment. Here are two cases documented over on Business Insider:
“Thanks to Mic Drop I just lost my job. 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 “Mic Drop” send button. There were corrections that needed to be made on my articles and I never received her replies. 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). I just woke up to a very angry voicemail from her which is how I found out about this ‘hilarious’ prank.”
And via the Telegraph:
“I just sent off an email with my resume to the first person who wanted to interview me in months … I clicked the wrong button and sent it with the mic drop. Well, I guess I’m not getting that job. Words cannot describe how pissed off I am right now. I’m actually shaking. One click, ONE CLICK and I lost the job. Goddamnit. Not funny, google. I’m going to go cry now.”
Meanwhile, the outrage — whether real or inflated because it’s April Fools Day — cause the company to back out from the gag and issue an apology:
This is not the first time Google has had to backtrack on an April Fools Day gag too. Maybe next time keep the Minons emojis to the home screen, Google.