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Google is calling off April Fools this year, according to an internal email

April Fools pranks are an annual tradition at the Mountain View, California company, but it appears Google is putting in all the stops on its gags this year. That’s according to an internal email from Google marketing boss Lorraine Twohill that Business Insider got their hands on

“Under normal circumstances April Fool’s is a Google tradition and a time to celebrate what makes us an unconventional company,” Twohill wrote in an email this week. “This year, we’re going to 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.”

She went on: “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. Please suss out those efforts and make sure your teams pause on any jokes they may have planned — internally or externally.”

The move isn’t entirely unexpected given the current global cultural context. COVID-19, the disease that is caused by the new coronavirus, is wreaking havoc on populations in hotspots like New York City, Seattle, and New Orleans, and will be affecting the lives of most if not all Americans over the coming months.

Google’s response to the novel coronavirus, like many other Silicon Valley firms, has been extensive over the last several weeks. The latest initiative is best news for the national response so far, though, with commitments of $800 million in aid through ad grants, donations, credits, and more.

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Avatar for Stephen Hall Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.