Search giant Google has been the subject of a fierce outcry after introducing a feature to its Gmail system as an April Fool’s Day prank.
The company has acquired a reputation for introducing original and creative features to aspects of its product range in order to prank everyone on April 1st each year. However, this year, the company found itself the butt of the joke as a number of users complained about its consequences.
Users who logged into their Gmail account on a desktop computer may or may not have noticed that there were two different send buttons when replying to an email thread. The first button was the regular blue ‘send’ icon, but directly next to it was an orange button labelled ‘Send +’ with a picture of a microphone next to it.
Should a user have been either daring or unlucky enough to have pushed that button, the email was sent alongside a surprise that caused a lot of anger, especially for those who were sending professional emails.
The surprise feature that was sent, much to the horror of some users, was an animated GIF taken from the film Minions, where one of the yellow creatures is dressed is royal attire and drops the microphone in a sassy manner, seemingly after delivering a bold statement.
Furthermore, after the animation, known as ‘Mic Drop’, was sent, the email thread was then muted so that the user would not receive any further notifications, even if the recipient replied. The email would still appear in their inbox.
The prank certainly caused more trouble than humour, as it gave a general impression that the sender was saying that the conversation was over. The implications of this being sent were not pleasant for some people, with some even losing their jobs, or being discounted for potential jobs. The GIF was accidentally sent to colleagues, friends and even prospective employers, which resulted in users complaining to Google.
Some users reported that the button was placed where they are used to seeing the ‘Send and Archive’ button, and some even claimed that the Mic Drop GIF was attached to emails that were sent using the regular blue ‘Send’ button, highlighting that the feature was not only unwelcome, but buggy as well.
After receiving numerous complaints all morning on Friday, Google decided to pull the plug on their April Fool’s gag, which will no doubt be remembered as one of poor taste and far from the company’s more successful pranks in years gone by.
As well as the decision to scrap this feature, the company issued an apology, which stated that it had clearly pranked itself by causing more headaches than laughs.