Sunday 25 September 2016

Google removes Gmail feature after April Fool's joke causes outcry

Published 01/04/2016 | 11:56

An outcry from users over an April Fool's prank has forced Google to drop a a feature it added to the Gmail service
An outcry from users over an April Fool's prank has forced Google to drop a a feature it added to the Gmail service

Google has been forced to remove a feature added to its Gmail service as an April Fool's prank after it sparked a backlash among users who claimed it was costing them potential jobs.

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The Mic Drop tool was placed next to the normal Send button, but once clicked sent a message containing a GIF of a character from the Minion movies dropping a microphone, as well as muting any future replies, ending the conversation.

There was an immediate backlash to the feature, which Google described as enabling users to "get the last word", as many reported clicking it accidentally, sometimes on emails replying to potential employers.

Gmail user Justin Boxill wrote on a Google Help forum: "I just sent off an email with my resume to the first person who wanted to interview me in months.

"I clicked the wrong button and sent it with the mic drop. Well, I guess I'm not getting that job.

"I'm actually shaking. One click, ONE CLICK and I lost the job. Goddamnit. Not funny, Google."

Several other users took to Twitter to report similar incidents when replying to job-related emails, with hundreds more using Google forums to request its removal.

The email service recently surpassed one billion active users, making it one of the most used social tools in the world.

The button's placement so close to the Send button was the main source of criticism.

Google removed the feature less than 12 hours after it went live, saying in a statement: "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."

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