Google thought they had a great idea for a really awesome April Fools’ Day prank: The company added an alternative send button on Gmail which allowed users to have the final say in an email thread by adding an explanatory GIF to “set expectations” and never see any responses to the email again. They dubbed it “MicDrop.”
Good one, huh? Yeah, unless you lost your job as a result, which some did.
Technologist and blogger Andy Baio saw the MicDrop feature when it debuted at Midnight and immediately called it “short sighted,” and added:
“Changing sent email like that without confirmation is an incredible betrayal of trust. The damage from this prank is just getting started.”
Was he ever prophetic! Not long afterward, this message appeared on social media:
Google keeps the laughs coming! 24 more hours to go! pic.twitter.com/6WOjjGiZS4
— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) April 1, 2016
Others posted notes on the Gmail Help Forum. Abdus Salam said he sent an email to the HR manager at a job he was due to start next week after three months of interviews:
“Why would you do that? I so want this job; was due to start on Monday.”
For their part, Google attempted to apologize, noting:
“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.”
In the interest of full disclosure, I have a Gmail account and love it. I saw the MicDrop feature and shook my head, thinking, “You’d have to be really pissed off to use that thing.” So glad I didn’t. The last thing I need is to be without a job or lose a friend or family member because of some stupid gag on the part of Google.
But hey, Google, you really screwed up on this one. Not funny. I think you owe some folks one hell of an apology.