April Fools’ Day is one of the most annoying internet traditions, but this year Google — infamous for its numerous elaborate pranks that typically touch on nearly every major product the company makes — won’t be participating due to the serious threat of the coronavirus that continues to impact the entire world.
According to an internal email obtained by Business Insider, Google will “take the year off from that tradition out of respect for all those fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Our highest goal right now is to be helpful to people, so let’s save the jokes for next April, which will undoubtedly be a whole lot brighter than this one.”
“We’ve already stopped any centralized April Fool’s efforts but realize there may be smaller projects within teams that we don’t know about,” the email from Google’s head of marketing Lorraine Twohill continues. “Please suss out those efforts and make sure your teams pause on any jokes they may have planned — internally or externally.”
Like or loathe internet April Fools’ jokes, it’s hard to argue that Google’s decision here isn’t a wise one. With the seriousness of the health crisis gripping the United States and the world, dedicating a day to misleading people and adding extraneous, misinforming features to critical products like Google search, YouTube, Gmail, or Maps just seems like a bad idea.
Hopefully other companies will take note of Google’s lead here and adjust their own April Fools’ plans accordingly. There’s a time and a place for a good joke — but this probably isn’t it.