Google’s easter eggs – funny little images, programs or widgets – are legendary, but many of them lie dormant, just waiting for users to type the magic words into the search box.
Are they clever? Some are. Are they useful? Most aren’t. But they’re all a welcome distraction from working. They all work in Chrome on desktop, most work on mobile too, and some of them also work in other browsers. Enjoy. .
An oldie but a goodie. Typing either “do a barrel roll” or “z or r twice” will make the Google search page roll flip 360 degrees. Why? For fun of course. Both phrases are a reference to Star Fox, in which you had to hit the Z or R button twice to roll your fighter left or right.
Typing “askew” into Google sets the whole page off at a tilted angle. “Tilt” also used to work, but I couldn’t get it to do anything in my testing.
Star Wars text
Have you ever wanted your Google search results to scroll down the page mimicking the Star Wars opening text? No, me neither, but you can by typing “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”.
Typing in “<blink>” searches Google for blink and then makes every instance of the word blink in the results … blink. Yep.
Google like it’s 1998
Do you remember what Google looked like when it first lurched onto the open web in 1998? The aesthetic was similar, but 2016’s web is quite a few leaps forward in design over the late 1990s web. Type “google in 1998” to show what the search engine was first like and conduct searches like you’ve just lost 18 years.
Bored at work and the only thing you have access to is Google? Type “zerg rush” into the search box, hit enter and prepare to frantically click on a surge of little Google “o”s as they attempt to eat your page. Zerg rush was a tactic employed by Zerg players in the 1998 strategy game StarCraft, which involved the sending of hundreds of cheap, low-level units to overwhelm an opponent.
Brick breaking at its best. Type “atari breakout” into Google’s image search to start up an impromptu game of image search result bricks.
Conway’s Game of Life
British mathematician John Horton Conway devised the Game of Life as a cellular automation, where the player sets the starting parameter and then watches as evolution takes over. Typing “conway’s game of life” into Google and hitting enter spawns a small version of the simulation in the browser.
Super Mario Bros
A common search, but did you know that the question box that flashes below images of the original 1985 game is actionable? Type “super mario bros” into the search box, hit enter and click the flashing box to make the iconic coin collect chime ring out, as if Mario himself had just hit the box.
Flip a coin
We’ve all been there in our increasingly contactless, cashless society. You need to decide something and you simply don’t have a coin handy. Google to the rescue. Type “flip a coin”, if you trust Google not to be biased, of course.
Roll a die
Perhaps you need something a bit more advanced than a coin, but you don’t have any dice to hand. Search for “roll a die” and Google will do it for you.
The Bacon number or degrees of Kevin Bacon are the number of links between yourself or a famous person and actor Kevin Bacon. It rests on the assumption that any individual can be linked through his or her roles in film or TV to Bacon, and it’s always surprising how often that is true.
Typing “Bacon number” followed by the name of a famous person will try and calculate their degrees of Kevin bacon. Simple.
Top trumps with food
If you’re on a diet, or just want to compare foods like top trumps, putting a search such as “apples vs oranges” will list their specs side-by-side so you can see which one wins in a breakdown of calories, sugar, salt, vitamins etc per portion.
Just put “?hl=xx-klingon” at the end of your Google URL (google.co.uk/, for instance) and ylnej in Klingon.
Google’s programmers enjoy a good nerd joke more than most of us. Searching for “recursion” asks you whether you meant “recursion”, which when you click on it, asks you whether you meant “recursion” recursively.