Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Google’s Tasteless April Fools’ Day Gag

Victor-Bogdan Anchidin introducing this year’s Google prank:

Today, Gmail is making it easier to have the last word on any email with Mic Drop. Simply reply to any email using the new ‘Send + Mic Drop’ button. Everyone will get your message, but that’s the last you’ll ever hear about it. Yes, even if folks try to respond, you won’t see it.

When you hit the button, it will enclose an animated GIF of a clip from Despicable Me in the reply. Lame, right? Completely unfunny.

And, as it turns out, damaging. Andy Baio on Twitter:

I can’t believe how short-sighted Gmail’s “Drop Mic” April 1 joke is. It replaces the “Send+Archive” button, and attaches GIFs to sent mail.

I clicked it, assuming it was just a cosmetic replacement of the “Send+Archive” button, and it sent that stupid Minions GIF on a work email.

There are more descriptions of insensitivity and the glaringly inappropriate nature of this prank on Google’s product forums, particularly those from Allan Pashby and Justin Boxill. I haven’t verified what they’ve written, but their plausibility is what is so concerning to me. Both reports are very likely true. That nobody thought of these potential consequences in a tool that is as vital as email is almost beyond comprehension.

Update: Google has now removed the button. Pranks are terrible.

Update 2: At least it’s not as bad as spraying an almond scent in a factory that uses cyanide.