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Google apologizes for Gmail’s big Gfail on April Fools’ Day

Gmail April Fools’ Day #fail. Have you ever truly messed up with email? Of course you have. We all have. Whether you sent an angry note about your boss to your boss by mistake or clicked “send all” for a sensitive email you meant for one set of eyes only, email flubs can be embarrassing, relationship threatening, and even job-ending. Well, rest easy, because yesterday Gmail topped us all with a related April Fools’ Day prank and soon had to issue an apology.

Gmail’s annual April Fools’ Day joke got immediate backlash from users who didn’t find it funny at all. The prank came in the form of a post on the Official Gmail Blog. The post started by establishing a common problem; email threads from which we want to escape because they’re time-wasting, inappropriate, or repetitious. And truly, when you’re trying to be productive and someone includes you on a group email asking what everyone did over the weekend or what they think will happen on the next episode of The Walking Dead, the ability to extract oneself from the thread would be wonderful.

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The new Send + Mic Drop feature was introduced with the claim that “friends and family have been testing Gmail Mic Drop for months, and the response so far has been awesome.” When you clicked on the Mic Drop button, according to the post, an “explanatory image” would accompany the email. Apparently those who bought into the joke assumed what would go out would be a dignified notice that the sender had left the thread. But that’s not how it played out.

Clicking on Mic Drop sent the message along with a GIF of a minion-like character dressed in a royal cloak and crown. The minion spun around and then dropped a microphone out of the image frame.

Negative feedback was immediate. Apparently it didn’t occur to many people that April Fools’ Day was coming. Those who were offended likely also didn’t know that the Gmail team has a history of pranks, and they didn’t take a hint from the blog post closing, “Stay tuned and stay saucy.”

In an apologetic update on the same post (so those of us who think it’s funny at least can see the post and the spinning minion), the Gmail team called it a bug and stated, “UPDATE: Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year.