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Google's Gmail April Fools 'Mic Drop' blunder - and all the latest Gmail/Inbox news

Seth Barton
1 Apr 2016
Gmail Mic Drop
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Google's April Fools prank left users enraged and the company embarrassed

Google has never been one to shy away from partaking in April Fools-related japes and tomfoolery. But this year's little prank took a turn for the worse. We've all been involved in chats and discussions, whether it be on Slack, Twitter, Facebook or even real life, where you simply want to 'drop the mic' and walk away.

Well this year, Google gave everyone that power through Gmail, by embedding a 'Mic Drop' button next to the Send button when composing an email. It would then instantly send an animated GIF of a Minion (the characters from the movies) dropping the mic. The best (or worst) part was once you used the feature, you no longer received any responses. A true mic drop if ever there was one.

Gmail Mic Drop

One little problem, not only was the button easy to hit accidentally as it was next to Send, but a bug meant it was being sent even when users weren't choosing to. Cue lots of complaints on Google's product forums and claims of lost jobs when inappropriate GIFs were sent to Human Resource teams or work was sent into bosses. Google has had to pull the 'feature' and issue an apology on its Official Gmail Blog:

UPDATE: Well, 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. The feature has been turned off. If you are still seeing it, please reload your Gmail page. Hopefully Google more carefully considers the ramifications of its pranks next year, that is if this blunder doesn't spell the end of its yearly japes.

23/3/16 - Google introduces Smart Replies

Do you spend too much time typing out quick replies to simple email queries, well Google now has an answer for that in the form of Smart Reply. The idea is pretty simple, Google scans your email (you knew it did that already, though, right?) and then creates three short responses that it thinks are appropriate for the query. 

For example, if you get an email asking you to pick up some milk on the way home, your replies will include 'No Problem!' and 'Sorry, can't today'. The idea is that Google learns from your own answering style and tries to create replies that match it, though in my experience they're all far too brief for anyone to believe they've actually come from me. 

The feature has been available on the mobile version of Inbox for a few months now, but has only just been rolled out to desktop users as well. It's pretty useful, allowing you to answer simple questions in just two clicks, one to select the answer and one to send.

Apparently early versions of the software tend to think that 'I Love you' was an appropriate response to almost any question and the bot's romantic tendencies had to be toned down for release. Personally, I think you should be provided with a series of sliders to help tweak the bot to your own email style manually, making for some more extreme answers, or possibly add ones in based around the calendar, such as Valentine, Christmas and Easter Sunday.

Edit trips in Inbox

Inbox has been around a while now and if you’re a Gmail user you should really try out the new interface for accessing your Google emails, both on your phone and through a web browser. There’s nothing to lose as you can simply go back to the old Gmail interface if you prefer it.

One of my favourite features of Inbox is its Trips function, which automatically takes information from emails and collates it together in one easy to find place. Your flight details, hotel reservation, car hire and more all appear within the automatically-created trip. The only problem was that you couldn’t edit the information in these trips if something went a bit wrong.

Well now you can thanks to an update to Inbox. Find your trips by clicking on Trips in the left-hand menu, or tapping the 3 bars in the top-left corner to open the menu and then select Trips. Here you can see all the trips you’ve ever taken as well as upcoming ones.

To remove erroneous emails from a trip: click the trip to open the trip and you’ll see a list of related emails at the bottom,, under the various collated information. Find the email that’s causing the issue and then tap the three dots to the right (or open it and tap the three dots at the very top-right on a phone) and then select Move to. You can then select ‘Remove from this trip’ in the menu that appears.

To add an additional email to a trip: Head to your inbox and browse or search for the trip-related email. Then once again click on the three dots on the right. In the menu that pops up you can see the ‘Move to’ section, click on Trips here and select the appropriate trip. The information in that email will then be scanned and added to the collated trip information.

And it’s that easy, so start using trips in Inbox by Gmail and get yourself organised when travelling away from home.

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