Google drops the ball on mic-dropping Minion April Fool's prank

Google is well-known for their yearly April Fool's pranks. My personal favorite was back in 2004 where this search engine company announced that they'd be offering free email accounts with a whopping 1GB of storage, and that they were hiring for their lunar research facility. Obviously Gmail wasn't a hoax, as it's now one of the most widely-used email services in the world. This year, one of their pranks once again involved Gmail, but this time it backfired.

The prank seemed harmless enough, at first glance. The idea was that you would now be able to send emails that needed no response. And to punctuate the fact that the recipient need not respond, your email would be accompanied by a Minion (from Despicable Me, in case you've never encountered these weird creatures before) dropping a mic. Obviously, when someone drops the mic, there's little more that you can do to respond.

Now that seems like a harmless enough gag. For the next day or two, you could send some Minion mic drops to your friends and get a few laughs. What could go wrong? Well, the problem was with where Google placed this Minion mic drop button. It was directly next to the Send button. And clicking it simply added the Minion and sent the email.

Since the button acted exactly the same as the send button which it was so close to, many people accidentally sent professional emails which included what now looked like a cartoonish insult. What's more, to add to the mic drop effect, if the person does try to respond to your email, you won't even see it.

You can see how this would be a major concern for people who may have inadvertently used the mic drop button. Now they may have insulted a professional contact, and they'll never even see the response. Google was flooded with requests to disable the feature, and promptly did so. They released a small update on the Gmail Blog page where they had announced the feature late yesterday:

Well, 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. The feature has been turned off. If you are still seeing it, please reload your Gmail page.

This is the first time I can recall seeing one of Google's popular pranks backfire on them. I wonder if they'll be a tad more cautious next year.