A few years ago, the Internet was like an unexplored fantasyland, filled with mysteries, dangers and hidden treasures. However, familiarity has killed the excitement for most of us now, which is sad: the little random bugs that sometimes seemed to crop up somehow made everything more fun (kinda).
Thats why wed like to thank Google for throwing in the occasional deliberate "bug" just to keep things interesting. So let's toast Google for making our web surfing that little bit more unpredictable with a roundup of the Internet giant's greatest ever Search Easter Eggs. All manner of in-jokes and other tomfoolery follow.
18. Zerg Rush
It appears that a geeky Google staff member has doffed their cap to South Koreas favorite game, StarCraft.
Typing the phrase zerg rush into the query box creates an endless swarm of little O-shaped creatures that devour everything on the screen. Fortunately, like the actual Zerg, these red and yellow-colored menaces are relatively fragile, and each can be killed with a few clicks of a mouse.
Its not every day that you have to defend your own search results from hordes of invading aliens! Players score according to how fast they wipe out the Os, but if the Os are allowed to multiply they eventually form the letters GG, which StarCraft players will know means Good Game.
Awesome interactive game-based fun. Dont start; youll find it hard to stop.
17. Do A Barrel Roll
Heres some more dynamic fun with its roots in video gaming.
In this vintage 90s game shout-out, inputting the phrase do a barrel roll (or "z or r twice") into Google makes your search result well do a barrel roll.
It may not be especially useful to have your browser turn into something out of Nintendos Star Fox 64, but at least its pretty entertaining. Just dont do it too much or you might start to feel queasy!
Heres one for the soccer fans. Around the time of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, running a search related to the sporting event such as "world cup usa vs england" or "world cup brazil" transformed the results index at the bottom of the page from Goooooooooogle to Gooooooooooal!
One-nil to the Big G for that one.
This little bonus for people with a math background makes the number of found results for pages in a search for binary appear in, you guessed it, binary.
Ever the smarty-pants, eh Google?
If you got the binary joke, youll like this one as well.
Searching for hexadecimal will prompt Google to return your results total in the base-16 system.
If youre not a computer scientist and are wondering why there are letters in the result as well, thats because hexadecimal uses a variety of non-number characters to represent digits. Jocular programmers sometimes even use it to spell out words " although the odds of one showing up as your Google result are probably less than 0x22b6b80 to one!
The last in Googles series of math jokes (we promise): typing octal into the search box gives a result total in (what else?) octal, a base-8 number system.
Another Easter Egg that does exactly what it says on the tin.
Typing tilt or "askew into Google Search using Webkit browsers like Google Chrome and Safari (or else a later version of Firefox, 7+) makes the screen lurch drunkenly to the right. Nice.
11. Hello To Jason Isaacs
Running a search for Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs generates (at least in the UK-based version of Google) the mysterious message "Hello to Jason Isaacs" between the search bar and results.
Someone at the Google home office is clearly a fan of British radio show Kermode and Mayo's Film Review, as this is the catchphrase of the eponymous hosts.
Perhaps hoping to show that the company follows an equal opportunities policy, Google created this little bonus feature in 2011.
The now-defunct Easter Egg made a row of festive Hanukkah lights appear underneath the search box when a query for said festival was entered. Just the thing to brighten up your browsing experience.
Yep, if you ever wanted to make your screen resemble the Jewish Festival of Lights, this would have been the Internet search for you.
9. Let It Snow
If the weather outside is frightful, and theres simply no place to go, you may have the time to check out this vintage Easter Egg.
Around the holiday season in 2011, typing in let it snow would conjure a snowfall, with flakes drifting down over the search results before the screen fogged or frosted up, allowing you to write your very own Christmas message " that is, after pressing the blue Search button that by now would have read Defrost.
8. Qingming Festival
A Chinese festival of ancestor worship with roots stretching back more than 2,500 years is referenced in this delightful Google Easter Egg.
Searching for the words qingming festival displays some nice, stylized artwork on the screen, including water buffalo, a small boy playing a flute, and a willow tree further towards the top of the screen.
Who would have thought that a traditional grave cleaning and sweeping event would get such an adorable representation courtesy of Google?
Now for what is possibly the nerdiest Google Easter Egg ever.
Recursion is a process in which objects are defined in terms of other objects of the same type, such that they repeat, potentially infinitely, in a self-similar way. Think of Russian Dolls to get a visual idea.
And yes, typing the term recursion into everyones favorite search engine gives you an opportunity to see how it works: the same word appears in the Did you mean… feature of Google Search, which gives you the opportunity to start your own recursive sequence by clicking on it and getting the same definition. If that seems confusing, dont worry it is.
6. Nag A Ram
One for crossword fans: if you type the word anagram into the query box, the suggested alternative given is nag a ram.
For those of you who havent spotted it, this result is itself an anagram. (But if you even vaguely understood the recursion entry, of course we dont need to be telling you this.)
Next, one for the design buffs.
Kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing or distance between letters in typography in order to produce an aesthetically pleasing look.
Google have made a very subtle reference to this in their search engine: typing in kerning will slightly adjust the spacing of the word all the way through the results page. Trust them to do something that you have to look very hard at to notice.
4. Google Ascii Art
For those in the dark, ASCII art refers, loosely speaking, to images created through the use of text: that is, characters and words that are rearranged into something resembling a picture. This allows images to be transmitted when it would otherwise be difficult to do so.
And yes, Google added a subtle reference to this graphic design technique to their search engine: running a search for ascii art would at one time transform the companys logo left of the search box into an image created through text. Clever.
3. Google Christmas Lights
In another addition to their festival-themed Easter Eggs, Google allowed users to add a colorful string of lights along the top of their search results if users ran searches for christmas or performed related searches like santa claus," "christmas lights" and "12 days of Christmas."
Nothing beats making your search results look like the tree in your living room.
Kwanzaa, for those not aware, is a week-long event held in the United States that celebrates African-American heritage and culture.
Until recently, searching for kwanzaa caused the seven candles of the Kinara, which are burned during the festival, to form the border between the search box and the results.
Google celebrates so many holidays that its beginning to look like a bit of a party animal.
1. Google Comic Sans/helvetica
Comic Sans is widely regarded as the most irritating font ever used on a computer. The script has attracted online protests, petitions to ban its use, and even a reference in the very title of graphic designers handbook Thou Shall Not Use Comic Sans. Its a mystery, then, why Google decided to allow users to turn their results page into the font by searching for the word on April Fools Day 2011. Actually, its not a mystery: the motivation was surely sheer impish mischief, especially as searching for helvetica, a far more sensible font, yielded the same result. Fortunately, in some minds, this cheeky Easter Egg is now defunct.
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