Google(GOOG) ended up with egg on its face this morning after this year’s April Fool’s joke caused some Gmail users to insult contacts and, some claimed, lose employment opportunities.
The “joke” was an actual feature that Google added to Gmail, called “Mic Drop.” An orange button next to the standard blue “send” button allowed people to send their email with an animated image of a Minions character dropping a microphone.
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However, it wasn’t just a cute GIF — the feature literally ended the conversation, making it impossible for the sender to even see any subsequent replies.
Outraged Gmail users who use the service for professional purposes flooded Google’s product forums to complain about having accidentally clicked the button on important work mails.
“Accidentally hit this new ‘mic drop’ button halfway through composing a professional email. Dying to remove this thing,” wrote one user. Another claimed he had accidentally clicked the button on an email he sent to the human resources department at a company where he was trying to get a job.
It should be noted, as Google pointed out in an email to Fortune, that the feature was only added to the consumer version of Gmail, and wouldn’t have affected Google Apps enterprise users. That said, many people use the consumer version in their professional lives too.
But that’s not all. Some people reported seeing a bug that meant (in some cases) emails sent using the normal “send” button also had the same effect.
“Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year,” Google employee Crystal Cee wrote in one of the forum threads. “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.”
There are a billion people out there who actively use Gmail (although many only use it on mobile, and this was a desktop affair). It probably wasn’t the best idea to just drop a potentially dangerous live feature on them like this — April Fool’s or not.