Who doesn’t love the minions, the little yellow, cuddly looking characters from ‘Despicable Me?’ Well, if you do not, you are probably part of a rarefied minority or you have not seen any of the movies. But the story of the moment is that Google’s April Fool joke has failed, with a serious backlash on the super tech company.
Fact: The Minions and everything they do is cute.
Other Fact: Google somehow managed to annoy a lot of people with an April Fool Joke featuring a Minion gif.
What happened? As the day began in Australia, the company announced it’s latest April Fool Joke; the “Gmail Mic Drop”, which was in essence a special version of the send button which attaches a gif of a minion dressed as the queen dropping a microphone to the end of your email. In a blog post announcing the feature, Google assured; “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.”
Good plan? No, very bad plan. At least in the way the company decided to implement said Mic Drop feature. They placed the button on every user’s compose window, making it incredibly accessible for an involuntary hit. Some of the users who had the misfortune of being among those who used the feature mistakenly where badly burned by the experience. One user who posted on the company’s Gmail help forum even had it to thank for loosing her job.
“Thanks to Mic Drop I just lost my job. I am a writer and had a deadline to meet. I sent my articles to my boss and never heard back from her. I inadvertently sent the email using the ‘Mic Drop’ send button. There were corrections that needed to be made on my articles and I never received her replies. My boss took offence to the Mic Drop animation and assumed that I didn’t reply to her because I thought her input was petty (hence the Mic Drop). I just woke up to a very angry voicemail from her which is how I found out about this ‘hilarious’ prank.”
She wasn’t the only one affected by the joke, as others sent in various complaints on it’s negative effect on business correspondences and the likes, confronted with all this reality, the company had to turn off the feature. They admitted to the Guardian; “Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. ? Due to a bug, the MicDrop 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.”
Google has experienced an April Fool joke turned bad, it however still has a number of gags still out there today from Google Maps Disco (which lets you watch Pegman dancing to Funky Town) to Searchable Socks (which lets you find your socks with the Google app), hopefully those will fare better.