Google has a proud tradition of making elaborate April Fools' Day pranks, from putting Pac-Man in Google Maps to apparently unveiling servers based on actual clouds.
But one of this year's efforts has been killed off already, after missing the mark. The "mic drop" feature on Gmail sent a GIF of a Minion chucking away a microphone, signalling that the conversation was over and all future replies were futile.
"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," a note on the Gmail blog said. "Yes, even if folks try to respond, you won't see it."
The only problem was people inadvertently sending this GIF to bosses, clients, and prospective employers.
Some people complained the "mic drop" button had replaced their "send and archive" option, and others that the GIF sent even when they clicked the regular send button.
Users began complaining on the public Gmail help forum.
"This mic drop is perhaps the most stupid thing you could possibly come up with," one person wrote. "I have been interviewing with this company for 3 months now and mistakenly sent the email directly to guess who? The HR! Why would you do that? I so want this job; was due to start on Monday!"
Another wrote: "Seriously Google? You mess with peoples' email like this. I use gmail for my one-man business. I can't afford for you clowns to mess around with my business. I use google for everything, but I need to rethink my online solutions. You can't even be bothered to get rid of that stupid conversation view for mobile - after how many years of complaints? And now this. Clearly you can't be trusted with my email if this is the level of respect you give to your users."
One person claimed that they lost their job thanks to the mic-dropping Minion.
"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," they wrote.
"My boss took offense 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."
Within hours of being launched, the joke feature had been shelved, a Google spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
"Well, it looks like we pranked ourselves this year. 😟 Due to a bug, the MicDrop feature inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs," a statement said. "We're truly sorry. The feature has been turned off. If you are still seeing it, please reload your Gmail page."
The spokesperson added that the decision to cancel Mic Drop and the forum complaints were not part of some additional meta April Fools' Day prank.
Matthew Champion is a deputy world news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Matthew Champion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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