Google has historically participated in the tradition of attempting to prank the public every April Fools’ Day (April 1), but things will be different this year. A newly leaked company memo from Google’s head of marketing Lorraine Twohill reveals that this year’s practical jokes have been canceled in light of the pandemic. Matters around the world are quite serious at the moment and joking, the leaked memo states, may be in poor taste.
In the leaked message, Google employees are told to put any April Fools’ Day pranks they have on ice because now is not the time for tomfoolery. This is quite the change from Google’s past activities, some of which didn’t go over so well with the general public. Remember the Gmail mic-drop button? Now would be a bad time for another faux pas like that.
The email was recently acquired and detailed by Business Insider, which reported on Friday that Google has told its managers to make sure none of the smaller teams engage in their own jokes. The email sent to company managers allegedly reads, in part:
Our highest goal right now is to be helpful to people, so let’s save the jokes for next April, which will undoubtedly be a whole lot brighter than this one. We’ve already stopped any centralized April Fool’s efforts but realize there may be smaller projects within teams that we don’t know about. Please suss out those efforts and make sure your teams pause on any jokes they may have planned — internally or externally.
As with other companies, Google has made a number of changes over past weeks in light of the ongoing pandemic. The company paused Chrome and Chrome OS updates for a while, for example, and it sent a large portion of its workforce home to work remotely.