Link is to the tweet that made me aware of the problem. I don’t use the web client anymore (because I can’t forward certain other accounts to it easily), so I didn’t even see it until this showed up on my timeline.
The tl;dr version is that there is a new button in Gmail (temporarily): Send + Mic Drop.
Bright orange, easily visible, what could go wrong?
Apparently there is (was? sometimes? usually? previously?) a different button layout.
This has led to a large number of people accidentally sending with a completely innapropriate gif.
In view of the sheer volume of emails sent through Gmail, this seems incredibly irresponsible to me. I cannot imagine how I’d respond if I had accidentally sent an email with mic drop with my CV and cover letter for a job application, or in response to an important funding email.
The gif is literally embedded in the email. If it only showed up in the gmail web client it could be defensible to some degree because Google would be able to add some sort of April-Fools context to it. But it doesn’t. It looks like the sender intentionally embedded that gif.
Once word gets out, the damage could be mitigated. However, I don’t think it’ll be completely undone.
In case this happened to anyone the important thing is to tell the person that a google prank gone wrong caused this, and that the image does not represent your thoughts, feelings or opinions in any way.
The most insidious part of this “prank” gone wrong was that it also muted replies to the email thread, so a response to an inappropriately-attached GIF would bypass the inbox. The unwitting sender would miss this opportunity to write back and explain, and from the recipient’s point of view, it’d seem as if the sender were being doubly rude in cutting off communication.
As well as taking the button down, I really hope they’ve gone through and unmuted all threads that were affected by this.
They removed it: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/gmail/pyp4L5XqUyc
This should have made any product designer or developer shiver: * It’s a UI change in a UI that people have learned by hear and use multiple times a day * People not aware of that can be aggravated by the response created * It isn’t clear what if does (e.g. it also moved the mail to the archive), so it might be hard for people to fix * Finally, any damage done by this is persisted, especially outside of the system where you cannot fix it
That’s too many red flags to builds such a thing as a prank.
Due to a bug? How was it supposed to work???
There are many reports it would trigger when clicking the regular “Send” button, too.
Ah, makes sense. Double down on the fail.
Here’s hoping this debacle is the beginning of the end for April Fool’s Day Internet “humour”.