Outcry over Google's 'Mic Drop' April Fools' prank

A red-faced Google was forced to prematurely remove a feature added to its Gmail service as an April Fools’ prank after it sparked a backlash among users. 

The new ‘Mic Drop’ tool was placed next to the normal ‘Send’ button, and, once clicked sent a message containing a GIF of a character from the Despicable Me and Minions movies dropping a microphone, as well as muting any future replies, ending the conversation.

The ‘new’ feature was introduced late last night in a Google blog post:

“Email's great, but sometimes you just wanna hit the eject button. Like those heated threads at work, when everyone's wrong except you (obviously). Or those times when someone's seeking group approval, but your opinion is the only one that matters (amirite?). Or maybe you just nailed it, and there's nothing more to say (bam).”

It was meant in good humour, but unfortunately for some Gmail users it actually worked, and there was an immediate backlash. Many users complained of having accidentally clicked the button, sometimes on emails replying to important clients and potential employers.

Google described the feature as allowing users to “get the last word”, and many users found this to be only too true.

“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,” one user wrote on a Google Help Forum. “Well, I guess I'm not getting that job. I'm actually shaking. One click, ONE CLICK and I lost the job. Goddamnit. Not funny, Google.”

Several other users took to Twitter to report similar incidents when replying to job-related emails, with hundreds more using Google forums to request its removal, and, in some cases, demand monetary compensation.

The button's placement so close to the ‘Send’ button was the main source of users’ criticism. Google were forced to remove the feature less than 12 hours after it went live – long before the traditional midday cut off point.

The internet giant, released a statement apologising for any inconvenience caused to its users, saying in a statement: “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.”

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