April Fools’ Day is in full swing and with that, we’re seeing more jokes and pranks hit the internet than we can even keep up with. Google has a long history of participating in the day’s festivities, which is usually filled with all sorts of surprises from their individual products and services. When it came to the Gmail team, they introduced a new feature called “Mic Drop.”
The innocent prank inserted a animated GIF of a Minion doing, what else, but dropping the mic, then muting replies so that you always got the final word. It was funny and although intended to be harmless, the joke has landed Google in hot water after things didn’t exactly go according to plan.
Instead of users have to press the “mic drop” button to send the GIF, it was being sent even when using the regular send button. Google says this was rare, but with millions of people all over the planet relying on Gmail to send important documents, files, and correspondence to others, you can see how the joke would be lost on some. Google does note that the feature was never turned on for Google Apps business, education or government users, which was smart move.
In an update to their original blog post announcing the joke, Google not only acknowledged their mistakes, but gave a bullet point list on how they should have done things from the get-go. These included the following:
- 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.
They also said they’re working to bring back replies that anyone might have sent after a mic drop (since the feature muted them), so expect to see some new emails if you used this. Not a huge deal, but Google was quick to remove the prank from Gmail, apologizing for inconvenience on their blog. Well, it was fun while it lasted.