Easter eggs are hidden features or messages, inside jokes, and cultural references inserted into media. They are often well hidden, so that users find it gratifying when they discover them, helping form bonds between their creators and finders. Google's Easter eggs are sometimes created by employees during their 20% time and Google avoids adding them to popular search pages, as they do not want to negatively impact usability.
"a long time ago in a galaxy far far away" resulted in the same tilted, scrolling style that the introductions to the original Star Wars movies were presented in. This included the music, which was muted but could be heard by clicking on or selecting the muted speaker icon on the page. However, this no longer worked as of June 28, 2017.
"<blink>", "blink tag", or "blink html" includes samples of the blink element in the results.
"christmas", "hanukkah", and "kwanzaa" will show decorations next to the search bar for each respective holiday. The feature is only active during the month of December. Each year, new decorations are shown.
Certain words related to these holidays, such as "candy cane" and "menorah" will also bring up these decorations.
"conway's game of life" on a desktop browser generates a running configuration of the game to the right of the search results. The process can also be stopped and altered by the user.
"kerning" will add spaces between the letters of the word "kerning" in the search results. Kerning refers to the process of adjusting the space between letters in a word.
"keming" will remove spaces between the letters of the word "keming". This refers to improper kerning, particularly when not enough space is used between letters, which can cause mistakes like "kerning" to be read as "keming".
"<marquee>", "marquee tag", or "marquee html" will apply the marquee element to the results count at the top of the results.
"pluto" describes Pluto as "Our favorite dwarf planet since 2006" in the Knowledge Graph.
"recursion" includes a "Did you mean: recursion" link back to the same page.
"sonic the hedgehog" and "green hill zone" will give a Knowledge Graph with Sonic waiting. Clicking on Sonic will make him jump; if clicked on 25 times, Sonic will transform into Super Sonic.
"super mario bros" shows a Knowledge Graph for Super Mario Bros. that contains a flashing "?" block which generates a coin and 200 points when clicked. After 100 coins are collected, the "1UP" sound plays.
A frame from Google's webdriver torso logo. See original animated image
"zerg rush" causes an army of Google Os to attack and destroy the search results, which can be defeated by clicking on them. Once you are defeated (as victory is impossible), the Os form two Gs (GG), meaning Good Game.
A Google web search for:
"breathing exercise" will have a 1-minute breathing exercise.
"flip a coin" will flip a coin: heads or tails.
"fun facts" or "i'm feeling curious" will show a fun fact. Once a search result has been given, clicking on "Ask another question" will show another question. It will show a short fact in about 1-3 sentences and a link to the website where the fact was found within a featured box at the top of the search results.
"random number generator" or "rng" will generate a random number. The starting range is between 1 and 10, but the maximum and minimum can be adjusted. Changing the maximum or minimum to a number with more than 10 digits will generate a dizzy face emoji 😵. Changing both the maximum and the minimum to 100 will generate a hundred points symbol 💯.
"snake", "play snake", "snake game" and "snake video game" will result in a "Play Snake" card. By selecting Click to Play, the user can play the game on both desktop and mobile. Clicking the snake after the game ends will switch it between blue to rainbow; a new game can be played with the rainbow snake.
"solitaire" will have a playable game of solitaire. Users can select between two modes: easy and hard.
"spinner" will have an interactive spinning wheel and a fidget spinner which can be toggled via the switch. For the spinning wheel, a dropdown menu can change the number of numbers on the wheel: from 2 to 20. Whereas, for the fidget spinner, users have to mimic a rotating motion in order for the spinner to spin.
"tic tac toe" will show a playable game of tic-tac-toe. Users can select to play against the browser at different levels – "easy", "medium" or "hard" (also called "impossible") – or against a friend. An alternative way to find the game is to search "shall we play a game", a reference to the film WarGames.
"stopwatch" and "timer" will provide interactive timing methods; the stopwatch counting up and the timer counting down. Both tools are shown for each search term. Variants such as "set a timer for 10 minutes" can be used.
"what sound does a dog make" will sound out what a dog will make. The word "dog" can be replaced with other animals in the search query.
"animal sounds" picks out a random set of animals.
"google logo history" results in a slideshow of the changes to the Google logo, starting with the logo used today and ending with one of the first logos from 1998.
The initial configuration of Google's Pac-Man banner.
Google birthday surprise spinner
Searching for "google birthday surprise spinner" will result in a wheel that spins to one of a selection of playable Google Doodles, tools (see above) and games. Whichever is randomly selected may be opened, or the wheel may be spun again. It was added in celebration of Google's 19th birthday.
"the answer to [the ultimate question of] life the universe and everything" provides the answer "42" as a result in reference to the Douglas Adams novel series, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". It is believed to be the first Google Easter egg, predating the calculator in which it's now revealed.
"the number of horns on a unicorn" shows the number "1" on the calculator.
"what is the loneliest number" shows the number = "1" in the calculator.
The result of multiple Easter eggs may be calculated; for example: "the number of horns on a unicorn plus the answer to life the universe and everything" will return "43".
A Google image search for "atari breakout" starts a game of Breakout, using the gallery of image results as bricks. Once the bricks are destroyed, a random phrase is automatically searched, the player will add the extra ball, and the game will restart.
Google Maps and Google Earth
The world of the Harry Potter spin-off film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them may be explored with Google Street View. Visit New York City in 1926 as brought to life in the film, as well as the real locations today. Fans can visit MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA); Steen National Bank, where Newt first meets Jacob Kowalski; the underground speakeasy The Blind Pig; and the magical apartment of Tina and Queenie Goldstein, two of the film’s key characters.
With the release of Google Earth 5, the Mars feature allowed users to speak to a primitive ELIZA clone on the planet, by searching for "Meliza".
On July 20, 2005, the 36th anniversary of the first human landing on the Moon, Google debuted a version of Google Maps that included a small segment of the surface of the Moon. It is based entirely on NASA images and includes only a very limited region. Panning causes the map to tile. Zooming to the closest level used to show that the Moon was made of cheese. The map also gives the locations of all Moon landings, and the Google Moon FAQ humorously mentions a connection to the Google Copernicus hoax, which Google claimed to be developing. Supposedly, by 2069, Google Local will support all lunar businesses and addresses.
In Street View, on Earls Court Rd, London, United Kingdom, a TARDIS from the famous science fiction series Doctor Who is on display. Street View allows one to enter the TARDIS where it is "Bigger on the Inside" and explore the set actually used in the show.
For April Fools' Day 2015, when in certain areas in Google Maps, there was a Pac-Man button. When clicked (if one's in a suitable area for it to work), a Pac-Man game started, controlled by arrow keys, using the roads as paths for Pac-Man to go. A similar feature was brought back for April Fools' Day 2017, allowing users to play a version of Ms. Pac-Man upon clicking the icon on the Google Maps webpage or mobile app.
In early test versions of Google Maps, searching for a route between locations separated by expanses of water (e.g. Paris and New York City) provided road directions to the coast of the embarkation country (in this case, the west coast of France) before suggesting "Swim the Atlantic Ocean (3,500 miles)" or another ocean for a different distance.
While Google Maps' walking directions were in beta, requesting them from the start point of "The Shire" or "Rivendell" to the destination of "Mordor", the directions returned the warning: "Use caution – One does not simply walk into Mordor."
Searching for "R'lyeh" would take users to the coordinates of the sunken city. It was listed as a "Place of worship".
On Mario Day (March 10) 2018, Google and Nintendo had partnered up to bring Mario into Google Maps mobile app worldwide for a week. A yellow icon with a question mark would show up at the bottom of the directions page, next to the start navigation button. Tapping on the icon would allow the user to have Mario and his kart as the navigation arrow. Tapping the icon 100 times would activate a 1-UP sound like in Nintendo's games.
If the user navigates to Loch Ness, the lake can be seen from a street view and the Pegman looks like the Loch Ness Monster.
He is given special clothing for some widely observed special occasions: for Halloween he rides a broomstick; for Valentine's Day he stands upon a heart; and during Christmas week, he becomes a snowman and on certain hashtags like the #prideforeveryone hashtag he gets a certain object like a rainbow cape.
Around February 8, the launch day of Google Maps, he appears dressed as a birthday cake.
When dragged onto Hawaii or Florida, the Pegman becomes a mermaid, but only when close to the ocean. The figure reverts if dragged too far inland. Pegman also turns into a mermaid when dragged to the vicinity of the Galápagos Islands.
There is a place on the southern point of Half Moon Island, Antarctica that has blue roads. When the Pegman was dragged on this spot, the Pegman turned into a penguin and users could explore the area as if on roads. Penguins and a research team in red parkas can be seen at various points on these roads.
For the release of the video game The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U, the Pegman was Link holding a Master Sword and a Hylian Shield.
For Google Street View's 10th birthday, the Pegman appears on both Maps and Street View as if he is celebrating a birthday, wearing a red and white striped miniature party hat and holding three pastel violet, pink, and blue balloons in his right hand.
On Monday, November 29, 2010, Reddit user "harrichr" posted in a "r/todayilearned" thread details of "how to make Google beatbox for you!" and soon after, Robert Quigley reported the discovery in an article on "geekosystem.com" (now The Mary Sue), stating that he was "Not sure if this falls in the category of Easter Egg or clever manipulation" and that although he had "No idea why", it transpired that using Google Translate to translate nonsense text of all consonants from German to German and clicking Listen would result in machine generated speech that sounded like beatboxing. As time went on, redditors and other interested parties experimented with translation combinations, posting their results on sites including Hacker News where reader "iamdave" is reported to have posted "a pretty comprehensive Google Translate beatboxing guide". Three years later Time magazine published an article indicating that Google had acknowledged the existence of this feature with an Easter egg "Beatbox" tooltip when hovering over the "speaker icon" button after setting everything up to the aforementioned specification.
When using Google Translate to translate the German version of The Funniest Joke in the World ("Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!") to English, the result will be "[FATAL ERROR]".
Rolling over the I'm Feeling Lucky button causes the button text to spin, landing on a random phrase. Clicking on the button without text in the search bar will serve the corresponding web page.
When Ken Perlin visited Google February 2000, Sergei Brin asked him for a version of an interactive jumping heart character he'd created as a Java applet to be put on the Google site for Valentine's day. "www.google.com/heart" will redirect to an archived page which is a preservation of the old, but still functional, Google interface, complete with the Valentine's heart and a banner that states "This site is an old friend from Google’s past, kept in its original form. Enjoy!"
"www.google.com/humans.txt" is a simple plain text file serving to remind its readers that Google isn't only built on technology but, is created by many humans too. It asks for interested readers to visit their careers page.
"www.google.com/killer-robots.txt" is a, no longer accessible as of November 28, 2018, humorous plain text file in robots.txt format.
"www.google.com/teapot" states, "418. I’m a teapot. The requested entity body is short and stout. Tip me over and pour me out." Clicking on the picture of the teapot or tilting the mobile device will result in an animation of it pouring tea into a teacup. The web page is a reference to the Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol.
Since the version 2.3 (Gingerbread) of Google's Android operating system an Easter egg containing an animation has been hidden. The Easter egg can be accessed through the "Settings" application, in the "About phone" section, by repeatedly tapping the "Android version" section. The animation is different in every version of the OS.
In 2.3 – 2.3.7 (Gingerbread) there is a painting of an Android next to a zombie gingerbread man, surrounded by zombies using cellphones.
In 3.0 – 3.2.6 (Honeycomb) there is a blue honeybee. Below it, there is the text "REZZZZZZZ…" as a reference to Tron: Legacy.
In 4.1 – 4.3.1 (Jelly Bean) a red jelly bean appears, which if pressed will show its face along with the OS version. If this jelly bean is then long-pressed, an interactive jelly bean mini-game will appear. This is where one can fling the jelly beans around.
In 4.4 (KitKat) a rotating letter "K" appears, which if continually tapped turns into the text "Android" in the styling of a KitKat logo. If the Android logo is then long-pressed or twisted with two fingers a tile interface, known as "a daydream" called "Dessert Case", loads with icons from all previous versions of Android. It appears to be a mock of the Windows Phone interface.
In 5.x (Lollipop) and 6.x (Marshmallow), a colored circle appears (or a circle with a stylized M inside in Marshmallow). If continuously tapped, it will turn into a lollipop with the text lollipop inside (or the M changes into a marshmallow in 6.x). Tapping the circle changes the color. When long-pressed, a game of Flappy Bird starts with the Android mascot instead. In Marshmallow, tapping the plus sign adds extra players (up to five), which can be controlled by the user or other players.
In 7.0 (Nougat), an "N" appears, which will enable another Easter egg if tapped. This Easter egg, titled "Android Neko" as a reference to the cat collecting mobile game Neko Atsume, can be accessed from the Quick Settings menu, and allows the user to create virtual treats, which will eventually attract kittens. The kittens can be viewed in a gallery-style screen. Additionally, long-pressing on the aforementioned "N" repeatedly will alternate between displaying the no symbol and the cat face emojis, respectively toggling the Easter egg on and off. "No" and "cat" is a mondegreen for "nougat".
In 8.0 (Oreo), instead of the normal way of going to the Easter egg, heading to System > About Phone and tapping on the Android version repeatedly will launch the Easter egg. An orange circle appears, representing an "O" for Oreo. Long pressing on the center will open a blue screen representing a sea with an octopus floating around. The "O" in octopus represents Oreo while the eight legs on the octopus represent the version (8.0). The octopus can be moved by dragging the head around.
In 9.0 (Pie), the Easter egg is found by going to System > About Phone > Android version and then tapping three times on the Android version on the next screen. A white, extended "P" will then appear, usually with concentric colored circles disappearing into the "P". Each time the Easter egg is invoked, it displays different colors. The animation can be pinched to zoom.
In the Google Allo app, sending the Konami Code to the Google Assistant by typing "up up down down left right left right b a start" will respond with "Cheat mode enabled". Typing it again will respond with random statements relatable to the code.
In the Google Phone (Dialer) app, inputting the "Emergency Number" "0118 999 881 999 119 725 3", advertised to replace "999" in The IT Crowd's season 1 episode "Calamity Jen", will cause the phone to vibrate and the call button to flash blue and red. The feature only works on stock Android Marshmallow and Android Nougat.
In Google+, if the device is shaken while viewing a photo, snow will fall; if the device is shaken again it will save an animated GIF of the image with falling snow to the pictures directory.
Searching for "let's go caroling" or "let's go carolling" on Google Now will result in an extra card which displays a list of Christmas carols. The phone will play the music and show the words if one of them is selected.
On a video published by Numberphile on June 22, 2012, titled "Why do YouTube views freeze at 301?", the view count is frozen at 301, referencing the bug in the now changed subject behavior.
Adding "&wadsworth=1" to a video URL will apply "Wadsworth's constant", skipping the first 30% of the video.
Whilst viewing any video, type "awesome" and the progress bar and other player elements will flash multicolored. Typing "awesome" again will stop it.
YouTube's robots.txt file at "www.youtube.com/robots.txt" states that it was "Created in the distant future (the year 2000) after the robotic uprising of the mid 90's which wiped out all humans." This is an ostensible reference to the song "Robots" by Flight of the Conchords.
When the live-stream countdown reaches 24 hours before it is scheduled to start, a "Dawn of The Final Day -24 Hours Remain-" is shown along with a sound effect, referencing the video game The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
On December 12, 2015, in order to promote the then-upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the progress bar was changed in order to look like a Lightsaber. By signing up to a specially created promotional page, users were able to follow the Light Side (which would change the progress bar to blue) or the Dark Side (which would change the progress bar to red). Account users had the option to return the effect to normal. Google disabled it for all users, February 1, 2016. Along with this, mousing over the volume controls would play a lightsaber sound like it was turned on, and mousing off of it would play a power off sound.
A Snake game could be activated by pressing a combination of arrow keys whilst videos were paused or playing. Once started, the snake could be controlled by further use of the arrow keys, directing it to "gobble up dots" to increase its size. If the snake hit the edges of the video window, the game ended. The feature no longer works.
When watching a video with "fidget spinner" in the title, the buffering icon will change into a spinning fidget spinner.
The Fidget Spinner that replaces the buffering icon
"webdriver torso" will return the results but with a red background and a blue rectangle around some videos. It also says "aqua.flv – Slide 000[0–9]" at the bottom left of the page. This is a reference to the Webdriver Torso mystery. Google has confirmed that it is behind the Webdriver Torso mystery; it is one of many test channels used by YouTube to ensure video quality.
If the user tries to browse when offline, a message is shown that they are not connected to the Internet. An illustration of the "Lonely T-Rex" dinosaur is shown at the top, designed by Sebastien Gabriel. From September 2014, tapping the dinosaur (in Android or iOS) or pressing space or ↑ (on desktop) launches a browser game called "T-Rex Runner" in which the player controls a running dinosaur by tapping the screen (in Android or iOS) or pressing space, ↑ or ↓ (on desktop) to avoid obstacles, including cacti and, from June 2015, pterodactyls. In 2016, another feature was added to the game. When the player reaches 700 points the game begins to switch between day (white background, black lines and shapes) and night (black background, white lines and shapes). During September 2018, for Google Chrome's 10th birthday, a birthday cake causing the dinosaur to wear a birthday hat when collected was added. Reaching a score of 900 will switch the colour scheme back to day, and the switch back and forth will occur at further subsequent milestones. The game is also available at the "chrome://dino" and "chrome://network-error/-106" pages. The game's code is available on the Chromium site.
In the Apps splash page at "chrome://apps", a comment can be found under the body header that reads "A div to hold all the templates, and in the darkness bind them". This is a reference to the One Ring featured in The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien.
In the About Chrome page at "chrome://settings/help", clicking on the Chrome icon will cause it to spin.
In the Camera app, activating caps lock and typing "CRAZYPONY" will open the files app and prompt the user to select a video file. Users can then add filters and take screenshots of the video.
Pressing Ctrl+⇧ Shift+Y in the Picasa desktop application will cause a teddy bear to appear on the screen.
In the Google I/O 2013 page, "instrument.github.io/google-io-2013/", one can click the letters "I" and "O" to input passwords.
In Google Glass, tapping Settings -> Device info -> View licenses, then tapping the touchpad 9 times, will show a Tap Meet Team option. Tapping again will show a photo of the Google Glass development team.
Any photograph with Christmas lights uploaded to Google+ will be turned into an animated GIF, showing sparkling lights.
On the Google Play Store, clicking the search button with a blank search field will search "unicorns".
In Google's iPhone and iPod touch search application, swiping downwards (past About) repeatedly in the Settings interface brings up a hidden menu item, called Bells and Whistles, allowing customization of colors, sounds and more within the app. However, this no longer works as of the newer app updates.
In computer software and media, an Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a work. It is usually found in a computer program, video game, or DVD/Blu-ray Disc menu screen. The name is used to evoke the idea of a traditional Easter egg hunt. The term was coined to describe a hidden message in the Atari video game Adventure that encouraged the player to find further hidden messages in later games, leading them on a 'hunt'.
elgooG (Google spelled backwards) was a mirrored website of Google Search with horizontally flipped search results, also known as a "Google mirror". An unofficial elgooG website was created by All Too Flat "for fun", which started to gain popularity in 2002. All Too Flat's elgooG site found practical use in the People's Republic of China after the domestic banning of Google, circumventing the Great Firewall. A whois request shows that the domain elgoog.com was registered to Google Inc. since 2000, but it is currently for sale.
A practical joke (also known as a prank, gag, jape or shenanigan) is a mischievous trick or joke played on someone, typically causing the victim to experience embarrassment, perplexity, confusion, or discomfort. Practical jokes differ from confidence tricks or hoaxes in that the victim finds out, or is let in on the joke, rather than being fooled into handing over money or other valuables. Practical jokes or pranks are generally lighthearted, reversible and non-permanent, and aim to make the victim feel foolish or victimised to a degree, but may also involve cruelty and become a form of bullying if performed without appropriate finesse.
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