Google: the list of Search’s easter eggs and surprises
These are little gems that Google programmers and developers have scattered in the search engine for the sheer pleasure of surprising and delighting users, a galaxy of hundreds of hidden surprises ready to appear by typing a specific query or launching some special commands. For one day, let’s put aside SEO and the talk related to optimizing our sites and content to relax a bit, going to discover all the curiosities, surprises and easter eggs of Google, entertainment opportunities that are scattered among the queries. Perhaps not everyone knows, in fact, that the pages of the most famous search engine in the world are full of these fun and cute quirks, which change little to the functionality to the service and represent a tribute to celebrate a particular anniversary, a character or the trend of the moment.
Google Easter Eggs, what they are and what they are used for
Unexpected features that appear as a surprise, just like the hidden eggs that in Anglo-Saxon tradition children have to find at Easter: in computer language this is the definition of easter eggs, the features that geeky and nerdy users manage to discover inside any software, also present inside celebrated programs such as Word or Excel and in video games, TV series and movies. Classically, easter eggs were used by video game developers to sign their work: these “extras” were not an integral part of the game, but were there to be discovered by the most curious and attentive gamers.
And the Mountain View giant also gladly participates in this fair of just-for-fun, offering within the search engine a very long series of hidden, bizarre, harmless, and usually amusing features and content, intended essentially to entertain users who discover them and wink at them. In the context of Google Search, an easter egg is thus a hidden feature, special message or game that appears when you type in a certain phrase or keyword, scattered throughout the search engine (but sometimes not identically for all versions of Google in different languages, nor always on mobile devices), which can range from simple jokes to interactive games, often within jokes and cultural references embedded in media.
Why are there easter eggs in Google?
But why did Google decide to include these easter Eggs in its Search? The answer is simple: for fun. Google is known for its playful and innovative corporate culture, and easter eggs are a way to convey this culture to its users.
In addition, these surprises are also a way for Google to showcase its technical expertise: in many cases, these features require considerable programming skill to implement, and their presence is a testament to its advanced technology.
Finally, they serve to tune out the more savvy users capable of finding all the eggs strewn about: they are little winks that allow Google to humanize itself, in a way, and extend a hand to people who manage to discover the game and therefore feel engaged and pleasantly entertained-beyond the organic results!
Being well hidden, in fact, users find their discovery gratifying and this helps to form bonds between their creators and finders. According to old labor agreements, Google employees are encouraged to spend 20 percent of their time on projects of personal interest, and sometimes this time is used precisely to develop and add easter eggs, which have only one “veto”: they are usually not hidden within popular search pages, as Google does not want them to have a negative impact on usability.
A step back in time: the history of Google
Before we launch into a search for Google’s funniest easter eggs, however, we need to take a step back in time to discover a bit about the origins of this search engine that fills much of our days today (both as users and as SEOs, marketers, and site publishers).
While not technically an Easter egg, for example, it is curious to find out that Google celebrates several birthdays: according to official records, the earliest anniversary date is September 15, 1997, the day Google Search was registered as a domain and launched online, but the archives also show the date of September 4, 1998, and the following September 27, 1998, which is then actually the day chosen for Google’s actual birthday.
September 4 represents a key day in the birth of the Google company, because it was on September 4, 1998 that the two search engine dads, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, signed the documents formalizing the debut of the incorporation called precisely Google.
On September 27, 1998, however, occurs the record number of pages indexed in the search engine’s database compared to its competitors: as mentioned, this is then the official day that is celebrated as Google’s birthday, which was hand-picked in 2002.
What does Google mean: the origin of the name
Speaking of fun facts, there are different legends surrounding the origins of the search engine name, which according to the most accredited version is linked to an error – a real case of misspelling. For their search engine, Page and Brin wanted a hyperbolic name, which immediately expressed its ability to organize the immense amount of information available on the Web.
The choice fell on the mathematical term googol, coined in 1938 to define the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, which seemed perfect to metaphorically represent the vastness of the Web. At the time of registering the company, however, they were wrong to write the word and googol became Google, a name that evidently brought good luck!
There are other versions of this story, which resize the error and link the final choice of the term to various wordplays in English. In particular, to the verb to goggle and to the noun goggles, or even to the character of an American comic, called Barney Google, to whom was dedicated the famous song “Barney Google with the Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes” (1923) and a commemorative stamp (included among the 20 Comic Strip Classics of the United States).
Google’s surprises: doodles and tributes
Not technically an easter egg, but a well-known, appreciated and awaited feature of the search engine is that of doodles, or the funny and surprising variants (sometimes animated or interactive) of the classic Google logo in the homepage that are published to celebrate holidays, anniversaries and the lives of artists, famous innovators and scientists, both internationally and locally (ie. only in the Google version of that country).
Although it may seem a rather recent introduction, the invention and use of doodles also date back to the dawn of the search engine. On August 30, 1998, the founders Larry and Sergey already “fiddled with the company logo to communicate their participation at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert”.
The first Google’s doodle appears indeed on that date and simply consists in the design of a stylized little man peeking out of the brand’s second O, as a symbolic and comical signal to users that the founders would have been “out of office” on that day.
Two years later, in 2000, Page and Brin asked for a special logo to celebrate the anniversary of the capture of the Bastille: the task was entrusted to the then intern Dennis Hwang (who later became responsible for all the Google’s webmasters, still maintaining a role in the design of doodles), and the result was so appreciated that doodles became an increasingly regular presence on the home page of Google (with a specific team of engineers and illustrators, called doodlers, working on this front).
According to the official page of this initiative, so far Google has created over 4000 doodles for its homepages all around the world, all intended to “commemorate interesting events and anniversaries that reflect Google’s personality and its love for innovation” and, at the same time, liven up Google’s homepage and make users all over the world smile.
Google easter eggs: the updated list
If doodles are destined to be quickly stored in the attic by their very nature (being related to the commemoration of a special date/day, they usually last only 24 hours), different is the situation regarding the Google easter eggs, that in many cases continue to work and entertain over time, teasing the curiosity of regular users but also of many geeks who try to discover other hidden features or unexpected bugs
To unite Google doodles and Easter eggs, however, is the purpose to make users smile, with the seconds that push even stronger on the concept of gamification and recreation: Google easter Eggs are many hidden systems with which Google winks at people who use the search engine, enriching SERPs with extra features than those normally present.
Among the billions of possible queries, in fact, there are some “keywords” that can activate secret messages, intentional inside joke or special features, which we can generally define easter Eggs: at the moment, there are about seventy special features that are active, while many others are no longer online.
Also thanks to the work of cognitiveseo, we tried to draw up an exhaustive list of all easter eggs in Google Search, which can give us a few moments of distraction between one search and the other.
The complete list of all Google easter eggs
Google Easter Eggs are not easy to find: there is no map or official list listing them all; they are hidden in unexpected places, ready to surprise anyone who discovers them. Some can be found by typing certain phrases into the search bar, others are hidden in Google features such as Google Maps or Google Images.
From a technical point of view, then, because Google searches are case insensitive search terms are listed in lowercase except where the distinction between uppercase and lowercase is explicitly stated.
- Yeti fisherman. Searching for a query for which Google does not find results and matches (such as random nonsense text or special Unicode characters) brings up an animation of a cartoon-style monstrous figure (sort of like a Yeti) sitting on an ice floe trying to catch a fish. Clicking on the fisherman will allow him to catch a random object (e.g., a fish, a package of sardines, a boot, or a bent can) and throw it into a bucket: if the boot and bent can make the fisherman sad, the fish and the canned sardines will make him smile.
- Answer to life the universe and everything. A reference to the very famous “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, this query brings up a calculator that gives in answer 42, which in the saga represents precisely the answer to this fundamental question.
- Barbie 2023. To celebrate the release of the 2023 Barbie movie, searches for “Barbie,” “Ryan Gosling,” or “Margot Robbie” bring up pink fireworks, color the Google logo pink, and turn the interface always pink.
- Bletchley Park. Searching for Bletchley Park (the “X Station” that during World War II was the home of the UK’s main cryptanalysis unit where Alan Turing, among others, worked) brings up the name of the decoded attraction in the Knowledge Graph, which literally shows us how a code-breaking system works.
- BTS. Looking up the name of the famous South Korean band brings up a purple heart with a microphone inside it that, when clicked, will make purple balloons fly along with the heart-shaped ones; popping the heart-shaped balloons (which contain a microphone) with a click will let us hear a message from one of the members of BTS (each identified by a different color microphone-blue for RM , pink for Jin , black for Suga , silver for J-Hope , gold for Jimin , green for V and purple for Jungkook) saying “I purple you.”
- Doctor Who. Doctor Who search shows a three-dimensional TARDIS that rotates to which, when clicked, will display a doodle dedicated to the Doctor.
- Earth Day. Earth Day or Earth Day shows a bee flying over the Earth: clicking on it starts the doodle that Google made in 2020 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
- Katamari. By searching for Katamari or Katamari Damacy, an interactive ball appears in the knowledge graph, with which we can play Katamari with the elements on the page.
- Baby Yoda. Queries such as “baby yoda,” “grogu,” “the Mandalorian,” or “Din Grogu” cause an animation of Grogu (real name of “baby yoda” in the TV series set in the Star Wars universe) to appear in the lower right corner of the screen: clicking on it will cause Grogu to use the force to attract an achievement and launch it to the bottom of the screen.
- Holidays. Queries for “Christmas,” “Hanukkah,” and “kwanzaa” bring up typical decorations next to the search bar for each respective holiday, dedicated to various religions and faiths. New decorations are shown each year.
- Christmas. Searching for Christmas drops a wrapped gift from the top of the screen into the embedded web page, which with one click directs to the Google Santa Tracker site (which allows you to track Santa’s movements).
- Hannukah. The icon of the typical nine-branched candelabra appears at the top, while there is a blue button at the bottom: clicking on it activates a full-page animation in which the user has to turn on all the lights and start the festivities for the Jewish cultural holiday.
- Kwanzaa. A classic candelabra icon appears at the top, with a button at the bottom: clicking it activates a full-page animation in which the user has to turn on all the lights so as to start the festivities for the African-American culture anniversary.
- Diwali. A lamp appears that, when clicked, starts a lamp lighting game, typical for the Hindu festival of lights.
- Holi. Searching for Holi (a religious festival of Indian origin that involves the final throwing of colored powders and water) brings up an image of typical bowls of colored powder that, if clicked, will simulate the throwing of colored projectiles at the page where you clicked; clicking instead on the raindrop icon at the bottom will clear the page of colored powder.
- Juneteenth. Activates a button with the anniversary logo commemorating the liberation of African American slaves in the United States: clicking on it starts an animation and a shower of red, black and green confetti.
- Chicxulub. Searching for Chicxulub or meteorite causes an asteroid to appear and fall on the results page, causing a slight “jolt” to the entire page.
- Conway’s game of life. Queries “The Game of Life” or “Conway’s game of life” generate a running configuration of the game on the search results page; the process can also be interrupted and modified by the user.
- Dinner for one. Queries such as “Dinner for one” or “The 90th Birthday” bring up a gray tiger head inspired by the movie “Dinner for one” (an old British show that has become a New Year’s Eve “must-see” in Germany and other European countries): clicking on it starts an animation of a person stumbling on a tiger-shaped carpet.
- Drop Bear. This search brings up a triangular sign: clicking it starts the drop of a Koala bear or more precisely a drop bear, the fictional animal from Australian folklore that is basically a carnivorous version of the koala.
- Pride. Queries such as “Gay Pride” or “LGBT Pride” or “Pride Parade” activate a heart with rainbow colors that, when clicked, rains confetti and flags on search results.
- DVD screensaver. This search turns the Google logo into the classic icon that used to serve as a screensaver for DVDs, changing colors between blue, red, yellow, and green each time it reaches the limits of the page.
- Festivus. This query (which, as fans of the show Seinfeld know, refers to the “secular holiday” celebrated on Dec. 23 as an alternative to the consumerist drive brought about by the Christmas season) pops up the symbolic Festivus pole (an aluminum pole stripped of decorations) to the side of the search results and the message “A festivus miracle!” next to the number of search results.
- Forrest Gump. Searching for these terms brings up a miniature Forrest Gump at the top of the screen running after other people, as in one of the most iconic scenes from the film.
- Friends. Searches for “Friends” or the names of the main characters (Chandler Bing, Phoebe Buffay, Monica Geller, Ross Geller, Rachel Green, and Joey Tribbiani) activate various interactive icons related to the show.
- Friends Glossary. In English, this search brings up a box with some of the definitions for the show’s most famous quotes
- Googly Eyes. A pair of fake eyes will slide precisely from the top of the page to cover each letter “O” in the Google logo; the eyes will slowly follow the position of the user’s cursor.
- Jerry Lawson. Activates an 8-bit sprite thumbnail of the well-known walking computer engineer, with links to the doodle originally made in 2022 to celebrate Jerry’s 82nd birthday.
- Legally Blonde. This query, referring to the movie known to us as “Legally Blonde,” brings up a pink bag icon in SERP that, when clicked, causes protagonist Elle Woods’ pet chihuahua, Bruiser, to jump out of the bag and head toward a pink lounge chair that dresses him in his signature outfit; the little dog turns around and jumps into the bag, while Elle’s voice says, “Hi, I’m Elle Woods, and this is Bruiser Woods, and we’re both Vegetarian Twins.” Once the animation is complete, the color of the links on the page changes from the usual blue to pink to match Elle’s “signature look.”
- Mars 2020. Queries such as “mars 2020,” “perseverance rover,” or “ingenuity” bring up the Ingenuity drone helicopter which, when clicked, flies across the screen making the background look more “Martian.”
- Double Asteroid Redirection Test. Queries such as “Dart Mission,” “Nasa Dart” or “Double Asteroid Redirection Test” make the experiment’s space probe appear and cross the page and crash sideways, causing the screen to tilt.
- New Year + Year. This query pops up a confetti shooter (party popper) at the top of the search page, which with one click activates and throws confetti on the SERP.
- Isaac Newton. An apple tree appears on the page: clicking on it will drop an apple from the top of the screen.
- Dogs and cats. Typing in some queries related to dogs and cats (e.g., “puppy,” “puppies,” “dog,” or “cat,” “kitten,” and “kitten”) brings up a paw icon that, when clicked, brings up the animal’s paw, which leaves an imprint where the mouse was placed, reproducing a bark or meow.
- Rabbit rabbit rabbit. By typing rabbit three times, three rabbit emoji appear moving up and down at the top of the screen.
- RRR. This query (the name of a 2022 Indian film) brings up 2an emoji of a rider and a person on a bicycle, in reference to the main characters in the play.
- Sonic. Typing ”sonic the hedgehog game,” ”green hill zone,” or ”sonic” pops up an icon of a waiting Sonic: by clicking or tapping the icon, the mythical blue hedgehog will start spinning as in the video game (if clicked or tapped 25 times, Sonic will turn into Super Sonic).
- Splatoon. Queries such as “splatoon,” “splatoon 2,” or “splatoon 3” bring up icons of colored blobs, as in the video game: clicking on them will start ink bullets on the screen with the colors of the Google logo, generating blobs that sometimes have the eyes or shape of squid and octopus.
- Super Mario. Searches for “Super mario brothers” or “Mario Bros” show the classic cube from the Nintendo video game with a flashing “?” sign: clicking on it, we get a coin and 200 points; collecting 100 coins plays the “1UP” sound.
- The last of us. This query or “cordyceps” bring up a button in the shape of a red mushroom, inspired by the video game and the subsequent TV series; when pressed, cordyceps will appear on the screen, which can be multiplied.
- Webdriver torso. Turns the Google logo into moving colored blocks, in reference to an automated YouTube channel created by Google to test YouTube’s performance. In 2014, this YouTube channel became hugely famous and widely followed for its mysterious and strange videos (consisting of 11 seconds of blue and red rectangles) that some even linked to aliens or coded messages; in fact, it was precisely a test channel used by Google engineers to check the audio and image quality of videos.
- Westminster dog show. Like searches for “puppies” and related, this query pops up a purple button with an outline of a paw print at the top of the search results, which activates the dog paw animation.
- Wordle. Introduced back early February 2022, this feature follows the boom of Wordle (and its clones), the browser-based game to guess a hidden term of 5 letters with a limited number of attempts available. Opening Google and typing Wordle, in fact, an easter egg appears that replaces the classic logo of the search engine, making appear in its place an animation that shows the classic Wordle screen that, in three attempts, leads to compose the word Google just like it happens in the game (watch the video to better understand!).
- Cha Cha Slide – the most recent surprise you can discover by typing the query [cha cha slide] and clicking on the animated microphone that appears in the right corner of the featured video. The notes of Mr C’s homonymous song The Slide Man (published exactly 20 years ago) will start and, continuing to click on the following icons, our screen will dance to the rhythm (and actions) of the song.
- Games in Google Arts. In the American version of the search engine, for mobile users, some queries activate special games and quizzes related to the sought-after personality. As told on seroundtable, typing Fernando Botero or Ansel Adams it will be possible to join these interactive games on art and culture, by selecting the right answer among the offered ones (and there is a score, too!).
- Google in 1998. Valid for the US version, this command takes us back in time and makes us rediscover a classic (and now very old) version of the search engine.
- Is Google down. Pay attention to what you ask to the search engine: the query (still in the US) “is Google down” will trigger a harsh and witty answer, a big NO in capital letters (as long as, of course, Google is not actually down!).
- Google Logo History. How has the Google logo changed over the years? Launching the search for Google Logo History, a scrolling snippet appears in which we can retrace the most important moments and the official transformations of the iconic brand of Big G.
- Google Birthday Surprise Spinner. Launched on the occasion of the search engine’s 19th birthday, this easter egg allows you to take a ride to the “surprise wheel” and play at the result that appears. There are 19 different outcomes available, including games, animated doodles and other goodies.
- Marquee Tag. Typing marquee tag in the search bar Google gives a practical demonstration of what this HTML tag is, which serves to set the sliding effect to texts and elements.
- Blink Tag. In the same way, Google reminds everyone what the Blink tag is, flashing some parts of the text of the results in SERP (the ones where the words blink and tag appear).
- Kerning. In typography, kerning is a technique of word spacing: Google visually shows its meaning, increasing the distance between the characters that form the term kerning in all instances of the SERP.
- Keming. In contrast to kerning, which adds space, keming refers to improper kerning that removes spaces between letters (in particular, not leaving enough space between letters so as to cause the word to be misread, confusing “rn” for an “m”): the same effect is generated between words in the snippets, which are brought closer together.
- Font. Speaking of typography, on this page you will be able to discover lots of fonts and visually test their graphic effect, comparing multiple types to find the one suitable for our needs.
- Color Picker. Typing color picker a pantone appears allowing us to choose all possible colors in different codes (HEX, RGB, CMYK, HSV, HSL).
- Do a Barrel Roll. By typing this query, the search engine will literally run the command and turn the page 360 degrees.
- Askew. By looking for this term (meaning lopsided, crooked) the page of the results will incline, indeed, to the side.
- Google Gravity. In this case, we have to type the query in the homepage of the search engine and click on the “I feel lucky” button: suddenly the page will fall due to gravity (The most careful ones among us will notice that it is an old version of the Google home, as you can see from the logo).
- Error 418 and the teapot. Following two different April fools (1998 and 2014), Google published a page related to the 418 status code error of the Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol (HTCPCP), the network protocol for the control, monitoring and diagnostics of coffee makers and teapots. At this address you may experience the error and pour the tea by clicking on the teapot (or tilting your smartphone, in mobile navigation).
- The funniest joke in the world. Monty Python fans will smile to find that there is an inside joke dedicated to their famous sketch: inserting in the search bar the sentence “Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput! to English”, Google Translate will respond with [FATAL ERROR], exactly the effect caused by the world’s funniest joke.
- Google Bork. From this address, the home page of Google will speak a special language, the “Bork Bork Bork” spoken by the Swedish chef of the Muppet Show.
- Google Hacker. From this address, the Google’s homepage will again speak a different language, the language typical of hackers (as seen by the words between the figures).
- Google Klingon. For Star Trek fans, there is this version of Google with words written in Klingon.
- Google Pig Latin. There is also this variant of Google in Pig Latin, the playful language that transforms words.
- Google Elmer Fudd. It is a tribute to Elmer Fudd, the character of the Looney Tunes: in this case, too, the writings of the Google homepage follow the language of the archenemy of Bugs Bunny.
- Google Pirate. Ahrrr, pirates! At this link you can get a taste of the pirate language on Google. Aye!
- Bakers dozen. By writing bakers dozen, Google shows the snippet of a calculator that gives as a result 13: according to the Britannica Encyclopedia, in fact, this is the actual “portion” that, in medieval England, customers used to receive from bakers. The reason is to be found in the difficulty of securing the actual weight “in terms of law” of 12 loaves and therefore, for safety (and to avoid heavy penalties), the bakers decided to add an extra piece.
- Fun facts. Interested in discovering some curiosities? Just type fun facts on Google and the search engine will present (randomly) some of these bizarre and interesting facts, such as “how long it takes an average person to fall asleep” or “when the nose and ears stop growing”.
- Flip a coin. Looking for “heads or tails”, Google shows us an animation with the coin toss, useful maybe for those looking for help in making a choice.
- 3D Egg. A very special surprise: typing a particular function (or more simply clicking here) it is possible to view a three-dimensional egg that rotates.
- St.Valentine’s heart. Similarly, a complex function (or a click here) allows you to activate a Valentine’s Day-themed easter egg, with the graph of a blue heart.
- Loneliest Number. This easter egg, too, works only on Google US and shows the answer to the question (implied) on the “loneliest number” with a calculator that indicates 1.
- Anagram. By writing anagram and define anagram in the search bar, Google will have fun suggesting that “maybe you were looking for nag a ram” or “nerd fame again“, which are just an anagram of the two queries!
- Loch Ness. This easter egg is activated in Google Maps: looking for Loch Ness, the map will indicate the location of Nessie, the mythical monster of the lake.
- Google Mars. So much more than Google Earth: this application allows you to explore the surface of Mars!
- Google Moon. We are closer to Earth, in this case: Google Moon actually takes us to the Moon.
- Google Sky. Tired of our planet? We can start discovering space with Google Sky.
- What is the hour. Not a real easter egg, but one of Google’s direct answer functions, which for a few years now directly answers questions with a quite useful snippet. Just type “what time is it” and enter the location to retrieve the info.
- Money converter. As before, just write the currencies you are interested in to have an automatic and immediate conversion.
- Calculator. By writing a mathematical calculation (from simple addition to something more complex) we will activate the calculator, which will give us the correct answer.
- Numbers. Any difficulties spelling long and complex numbers in English? Just ask Google US: typing the figures, the equality indicator and the “English” term, the search engine will read the number for us. Here the example with 123456789=english.
- Info on personalities. We can ask Google for the height or age of lots of famous people, getting in response a featured snippet that reports the information.
Some easter eggs take advantage of the “Maybe you were looking for” feature, whereby Google tries to refine users’ search by suggesting more relevant or precise queries; in this case, the feature is used to wink at cultural, film or otherwise user-friendly references. In most cases, these tricks only apply to English-language Google.
- Alex Trebek activates “Did you mean: who is alex trebek” in reference to the show Jeopardy! (of which Treber was the historic host for 37 seasons!) that had as a rule to provide answers in the form of a question.
- Assistant regional manager activates “Did you mean: assistant to the regional manager,” in reference to the show The Office.
- Bruno Madrigal active “Did you mean: we don’t talk about bruno,” in reference to the song from the Disney movie Encanto.
- Emacs activates “Did you mean: vi” and vice versa if the search query is “vi”; this is a reference to the war between text editors vi and Emacs .
- Han shot first activates “Did you mean: greedo shot first” and vice versa, referring to the controversial scene in the first Star Wars movie, modified in 1997 to suggest precisely that Han Solo shot in defense.
- Mia Thermopolis activates “Did you mean: amelia mignonette thermopolis renaldi princess of genovia,” referring to the protagonist in the film The Princess Diaries.
- Olivia Newton John activates “Did you mean: the one that i want,” a reference to the very famous song You’re the One That I Want from Grease, sung precisely by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.
- Recursive shows a “Maybe you were looking for: recursive,” referring to the same search over and over again. Recursive indicates a function that repeats itself over and over again, and Google has thus found a perfect way to explain its meaning, basically restarting the initial search and so on ad infinitum. It also works in English with the term recursion.
- Groundhog day activates “Did you mean: groundhog day,” triggering a recursive process as occurs in the movie of the same name (in Italian known as Ricomincio da capo).
- Steamed hams activates “Did you mean: steamed clams,” in reference to an episode of The Simpsons.
- The one ring activates “Did you mean: my precioussss” in reference to Gollum’s iconic phrase in the original language in The Lord of the Rings (in Italian translated as “My preciousness,” but the easter egg doesn’t work for us).
- Tina Turner activates “Did you mean: simply the best,” in reference to the very famous song The Best.
- War in ba sing se activates “Did you mean: THERE IS NO War in Ba Sing Se,” in reference to the show Avatar: The Last Airbender, in which characters try to prevent rumors of war.
- Wingardium Leviosa activates “Did you mean: win gar dium levi ohh sa” in reference to the scene in the movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in which Hermione corrects the pronunciation of the other main characters.
- World’s best boss active “Did you mean: Michael Scott,” another reference to The Office.
- Wubba lubba dub dub activates “Did you mean: i am in great pain please help me,” in reference to the animated sitcom Rick and Morty (as revealed in one episode, the phrase precisely means “I am in great pain please help me”). When using the Google Assistant, it responds with “Are you in pain? How can I help?”, “Sorry, I don’t speak Birdperson” or “Morty, let’s get Schwifty.”
Games in Google Search
Being on the computer for many hours can lead to fatigue and stress: why not take some time off, maybe trying some online games? This is perhaps the spirit with which the engineers of Big G have disseminated several games in the Search system, more or less hidden, or added built-in features that appear in the SERP to “lighten” some of the nervousness load.
- Dinosaur. In the absence of network connection (or connecting to chrome://dino), on the error page of Chrome appears the icon of a cute little T-Rex in 8-bit: clicking on the keyboard a scrolling game starts, in which we must help the dinosaur to avoid the obstacles that stand in the way of its race.
- Snake. Snake was a great classic of the generation of mobile phones of the nineties: to relive those moments, just type Snake or connect to this address for a game.
- Tris. Everyone knows the Tris (or Tic-Tac-Toe or Terni Lapilli, the name it had in Ancient Rome), the strategic challenge between X and O: for a match against the machine, just look for the name of the game (in all three variants) or connect here.
- Solitaire. Looking for Solitaire (or clicking here) you can start a game of solitaire cards Klondike version.
- Pac Man. Even the legendary arcade game invented by Tōru Iwatani and produced by Namco in 1980 has its own space on Google: just look for Pac Man or launch this page to find yourself in the shoes of the yellow sphere!
- Minesweeper. Who has never played the minefield (then flower field) on Windows? Just type minesweeper on Google to start a game.
- Text Adventure. Text adventure enthusiasts will find the opportunity to experience this experience on Google very welcome. Just go to the American version of the search engine and type text adventure (or click here) and then use the command to inspect the page (Ctrl+Shift+I); now let’s go to Console and the system will ask us “Would you like to play a game? (yes/no)”. Typing yes will start our adventure.
- Interactive fiction. It works a bit like the previous surprise: by writing interactive fiction and inspecting the Console, a Warning message appears and then the possibility to launch a textual adventure game.
- Carmen Sandiego. This is a game contained in Google Earth, based on the famous character of the videogames created by Brøderbund (and then also the protagonist of an animated series), in which you have to find out in which part of the world is located and is about to hit the sophisticated thief Carmen Sandiego.
- Breathing exercise starts a 60-second breathing exercise.
- Level or bubble level triggers a bubble level to appear. Contrary to most easter eggs, this only works for mobile searches, not desktop.
- Earth day quiz activates on a test dedicated to Earth Day that allows you to find out what animal we are.
- Fidget spinner or spinner activates a sort of “wheel of fortune” or, by clicking on the switch, a fidget spinner to play with. For the spinning wheel, we can change the number of numbers present from 2 to 20, while the fidget spinner is to be thrown by imitating a spinning motion with the mouse.
- Google tuner activates an instrument tuner that, by authorizing acquisition via microphone, listens to the user playing and, with a GUI , shows how to tune the instrument.
- Memory game activates a memory game.
- Metronome activates an adjustable metronome from 40 to 218 BPM.
- Periodic table brings up an interactive 3D resource from the periodic table: clicking the “explore elements” button takes you to artsexperiments.withgoogle.com.
- Pi. Typing “pi” and clicking on the “π” symbol from the calculator will start a Simon-like memory game in which the calculator highlights the digits of pi and prompts the user to repeat the sequence, which gets longer with each step.
- Play dreidel or dreidel allows the user to spin a dreidel, a spinning top typical of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, that lands on one of the four letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
- Random number generator or rng generates a random number. The initial 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 dazed face emoji, while setting both the maximum and minimum to 100 will generate a “hundred” symbol.
- Roll a die allows you to roll a die with various faces: six, four, eight, ten, twelve or twenty faces, individually or as multiples in user-selected combinations, all with an optional modifier.
- Snake, play snake, snake game, snake video game or snake game allows you to play the Snake game, with options to customize the scenario and even change the game mode, which is regularly updated with new features.
- Stopwatch, timer or stopwatch activate interactive timing methods, and specifically the stopwatch that measures time and the timer that counts down. Variants such as “set a timer for 10 minutes” can be used.
- Tip calculator shows a tip calculator that can help users manage tips at restaurants.
- Translate activates an embedded version of the Google Translate tool in search results.
- Animal Sounds. By searching for animal noises, a recording of them can be heard.
Some famous Google April’s fools
Also worthy of mention are some of the Google’s pranks that have gone down in history – even though the biggest of them all remains the Gmail ad, which arrived on April 1, 2004 just to fool users (who in fact immediately thought of the umpteenth fool!).
- Mentaplex. For April 1, 2000, Google patented the Mentaplex, a search that can be activated directly through thought: obviously it was an April’s fool, but the site still exists in its original form.
- Google Gulp. Much more than link juice: with the four smart drinks of the Google Gulp line it is possible to maximize browsing efficiency and feel smarter (and less thirsty). Announced on April 1, 2005, they are obviously one of the company’s many April’s fools.
- Google Romance. On April 1, 2006 instead Google looks into matching services, by launching Google Romance, a search engine that looks for sentimental partners. It really needs to be said that it is another April’s fool?
- Google TiSP. The joke of 2007 concerns the invention of a special kit to have an ultra-broadband connection and free at home directly… from the bathroom tablet! Again, the ad page is still active.
The abandoned Google easter eggs
The list is subject to many variations, because it happens as said that Google uses some temporary easter egg, on special occasions but for limited periods (for example on the occasion of holidays or special occasions), which are now discontinued, or decide to depress the functionalities when it considers them exceeded.
This is the case for example of the movie-related inside jokes: there was the snap of Avengers: Infinity War’s Thanos, activated by looking for Thanos or Infinity Glove, which made half of the results disappear in SERP, or various features related to the Harry Potter saga.
Among the games, instead, there was the opportunity to play a game at the Atari Breakout or Zerg Rush, which can be reached today by visiting the website https://elgoog.im/, a special project that shows Google “at the mirror” and that contains many easter eggs published in these 22 years.
This is a very partial list of Google easter eggs that are no longer active (decommissioned completely or functioning only at specific times of the year).
- Sporting events. At the conclusion of major sporting events, search will show fireworks to celebrate the winning team. For example, queries such as 2022 FIFA World Cup or World Cup 2022 made the flag of Argentina appear
- 2/22/22 or Twosday brought up confetti with the number 2 and a phrase saying “Happy Twosday 2You!” on February 22, 2022.
- A long time ago in a galaxy far far away transformed the SERP in the same slanted style used for introductions to the original Star Wars movies, including music (which was turned off by default, but could be started by clicking or selecting the speaker icon on the page). It was decommissioned on June 28, 2017.
- Ascii art showed the Google logo as created with ASCII characters.
- Binary, hexadecimal, octal showed the number of search results in the respective number system.
- Suez Canal or ever given showed the emoji of a boat scrolling at the top of the screen, referring to the unblocking of the Suez Canal obstruction of 2021.
- Cherry Blossom or Sakura made a pink cherry blossom appear: when you clicked on it, the petals would start falling off.
- Choco taco showed scrolling emoji of taco, ice cream, a tombstone and the date 1983-2022, referring to the beginning and end of production of this product.
- Drag queen, gay pride, homosexuality, stonewall, or other LGBTQ+-related terms triggered a rainbow-themed SERP header (but generally only worked during the gay pride festival period).
- Christmas used to change the “Goooo…gle” page indicator at the bottom of each results page by showing Christmas bulbs instead of o’s. This no longer works since Google introduced infinite scroll even from desktop.
- Hanukkah changed the “Goooo…gle” page indicator at the bottom of each results page showing Hanukkah cakes instead of o’s. As above, it no longer works since the page indicator disappeared.
- Easter changed the “Goooo…gle” page indicator at the bottom of each results page showing Easter eggs instead of o’s.
- Lunar new year, Chinese new year or year of the rabbit set off fireworks on the search page-occasionally, a firework formed a rabbit silhouette-to celebrate the year of the rabbit in the lunar new year in 2023.
- Ramadan: during the month of Ramadan, it activated an interactive game to search for a crescent moon in the night sky; after finding it, the user would receive congratulations with the message “You found it! Ramadan Kareem to you and your loved ones!” with lanterns descending around it. This also worked during the month of Eid al-Fitr, but the message was eventually changed to “You found him! Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones!”
- Qibla, eid al fitr and variants changed the “Goooo…gle” page indicator at the bottom of each results page showing instead nine cups and a pitcher, to celebrate the Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.
- Fifa and world cup during the 2010 FIFA World Cup changed the “Goooo…gle” page indicator at the bottom of each results page to “Goooo…al!”
- Fireworks, 4 july, and other similar search terms on July 4, U.S. Independence Day, bring up simulated multicolored fireworks for several seconds.
- Fresh prince of bel-air celebrated the 30th anniversary of the first airing of the sitcom The Prince of Bel Air by showing a replica of the “FRESH” license plate that activated a cab near the screen; search results acquired a 1990s theme with various references and jokes in reference to people and places on the TV show via audio clips and animations, including the appearance of some of the show’s characters screaming as they fell on the screen.
- Heartstopper would slide a trio of animated leaves (a reference to the show of the same name) onto the page.
- Gotham City, Batman or Bruce Wayne (to celebrate the release of The Batman in 2022): they would pop up a Bat-signal next to the results that, when activated, would start a background of a stormy night on the search results page, along with the bat light signal superimposed on top, followed later by the appearance of Batman’s shadow swinging across the screen.
- International Women’s Day: on March 8, 2023 activated a parade of blue flags and confetti, celebrating the event.
- Memorial Day triggers a sequence saying “For all who have sacrificed” and “Thank you” with poppies in the background.
- Meteor Shower obscured the screen, showing a group of three meteors passing diagonally.
- Pele turned the page marker “Goooo…gle” at the bottom of the page to “Gooo..al,” with the last “o” replaced by a soccer ball. It was a tribute for Pelé’s 80th birthday.
- Pluto planet described Pluto as “Our favorite dwarf planet since 2006” in Knowledge Graph.
- Rat Czar showed a mouse emoji and a crown emoji moving around the result count area as a reference to New York City’s appointed rodent mitigation director named “Rat Czar.”
- Star Wars and other saga-related search terms: on the occasion of May 4 (Star Wars Day ) evoke a sprinkling of confetti, some of which are characters/objects from the Star Wars series.
- Superb owl: around the time of the Super Bowl shows a Knowledge Graph for the Super Bowl, along with an informational panel titled “Superb Owl” with an image of an owl wearing a crown, in response to an ongoing joke among redditors about the frequent misspelling of the term.
- Tennis. Searching for any major tennis tournament in progress (with men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles) triggered a Pong-like minigame that was also available for past tennis tournaments (by searching for the name of the tournament and the year it was held).
- Thanos, Infinity Gauntlet or Infinity Gauntlet: An Infinity Gauntlet appeared that, when clicked, performed the infamous “snap” like Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, causing the same effect. That is, the deletion of half of the links, images and result count on the page.
- Toni Stone: Feb. 9 activates a confetti sprinkle in honor of the baseball player who was the first professional in that sport’s history.
- Velma and related made confetti appear along with flags representing the LGBT+ and lesbian community; it had been activated after Velma’s character in Scooby Doo was confirmed as a lesbian.
- Wizard of Oz: a clickable image of Dorothy’s iconic shiny red shoes appeared in the corner of the knowledge panel, transporting us to a black-and-white version of Google (1939 style, the year the movie starring Judy Garland was released). From here, clicking on the tornado would take us back to Kansas, or rather the current version of Google.
- Zerg Rush would cause an army of Google Os to appear, attacking and destroying search results, to be defeated by clicking. At the end of the game (victory was impossible), the Os would form two G’s (GG) for Good Game.