Google appeared to troll Gmail users yesterday, by adding a childish GIF to their sent email and making their replies disappear. If that sounds stupid and asinine to you, then you'd be right.
Your humble blogwatcher tries to avoid April Fool's Day stories, but this one is completely ridiculous. Not only did Google screw up its 900-million-user-email service in the most idiotic fashion, but the company "apology" came from a lowly software engineer, rather than someone in management who was actually responsible for signing off on such a ludicrous idea.
Update, 2:06 pm PT: Why am I so down on Google's prank? Delivering incoming email to the inbox is Job #1. Google should have properly disclosed what the button would do, should not have placed the button where muscle-memory would have expected the Send+Archive button, and should not have introduced the nasty bug that caused it to fire even without the button being pressed.
On the plus side, at least Google says it's learned something from the débâcle. But in IT Blogwatch, bloggers still can't believe Google would be so foolish. Not to mention: PMJ Vintage Soul…
Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
What's the craic? Jack Nicas tees off: [You're fired -Ed.]
Some people aren’t laughing. [Google] inserted a prominent orange button in...Gmail. When pressed, [it] sent a GIF of a Minion dropping a mic and muted the email thread.
Complaints quickly started pouring in. ... Users said they had...accidentally sent the GIF in a work or sensitive email. ... Within a few hours, Gmail removed [it].
Oh boy, here it comes. Here's Alexander J. Martin—Google tried to be funny, cocked it up:
Google...rapidly pulled the “Mic Drop” feature...in the early hours of 1 April after it caused “more headaches than laughs.” ... Mic Drop was intended to ease having "the last word on any email."
Alas, the buggy implementation...led to the annoying animated images being sent even when users did not click the...button.
Cue the abject apologies? Well yes and no: Google's Victor-bogdan Anchidin offers this nostra-culpa update to his foolish announcement:
We heard feedback that some of you were negatively impacted...so we quickly turned it off. ... We are working to bring back Mic-Dropped messages that had subsequent replies to your inbox. ... We are sorry if Mic Drop was in any way harmful to you.
At Google we have a culture of sharing what we learned when things go wrong. ... We should have asked you before turning on the feature. ... We didn't anticipate accidental clicks. ... And yes there was a bug.
Again, sorry. ... We regret that this joke missed the mark.
However, why leave it to a lowly software engineer to make the apology? Ridiculous and thoughtless. Paul Thurrott makes it one of his Short Takes:
Every year, Google engages in the lamest set of April Fools gags. ... This year [it] announced a fake Gmail feature called Mic Drop.
Hilarious, right? Nope. ... Idiots.
Heads should roll, amirite? Rumor has it they did, says Mark 85:
Apparently...a few Oompa Loompas lost their jobs over this. [But] I'd be willing to bet it wasn't anyone in manglement.
On the other hand, some users are bemused by all the fuss. For example, mediab0y:
It's mostly millennial drama Kings and Queens. Can't accept responsibility for anything. Blame game.
You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or email@example.com.
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.