Google Tricks, Easter Eggs & Secrets

Google's engineers love to hide some pretty cool tricks at the most unexpected places. Add to that Google's policy of giving 20% of working time to its engineers to do what they want, and you have a search engine filled with lots of entertaining Easter eggs and tricks.

Sadly, most of these tricks are still a secret, but every now and then, Google employees leak these cool insider pranks and the whole world gets to know about them. Here, I have created a list of all such known Google tricks and Easter eggs that are still "working."
Google Tricks

Google in 1998
Search Google for "Google in 1998" and you will be taken to the past to a search results page that shows how Google looked in 1998.

Kerning means adjusting the spacing between characters. So, how would you expect Google to describe it? Literally, off course. When you search Google for Kerning, the spacing of the word Kerning is changed as compared to that of other words. This only works with personalized results disabled.

Conway's Game Of Life
Conway's Game Of Life is a game that indicates how cellular life evolves based on the initial configuration. If you search Google for Conway's Game of Life, you will get a results page with the game running in the background.

Jason Isaacs
Just search for Jason Isaacs and Google will return a page saying Hello to him. This only works on Google UK. This is a reference to Kermode and Mayo's Film reviews which greets Jason with hello every week.

Bacon Number {Actor Name}
Kevin Bacon is a famous hollywood actor who was quoted as saying that he has worked with everybody in hollywood or somebody who has worked with them in 1994. This led to many websites being launched about his claim in 2007. Bacon seeing this immense response launched a charitable website called Six Degrees, which is based on a theory that everyone in hollywood has worked with Kevin Bacon through a chain of six acquaintances or less. An actor gets as many degrees as he is distant from Kevin Bacon's movies in terms of people in the chain of acquaintances.

Google too has now involved Six Degrees of Bacon in its search results. For example, searching Google for Bacon Number Johnny Depp gives Depp's Bacon number to be 2.

Google knows how to celebrate the holidays
Searching Google for a holiday will make Google return a page decorated with items representing that holiday. For example, searching Google for Christmas returns a page decorated with Christmas lights. This also works for Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Halloween and Festivus. These Easter Eggs based on a festival are only activated when that festival is near.

Zerg Rush
Search Google for Zerg Rush and you will see the O's of Google attacking the search results page. They will attacking every result one by one. There is a health bar which indicates how injured a search result is. You can also kill these O's by clicking on them. They also have health bars which indicates their health. You get points on the basis of how many O's you kill. The aim of this game is to beat as many O's as possible.

Zerg Rush Google Easter Egg

Askew or Tilt
Ever had the chance of searching Google for Askew or Tilt? If you have, then you already know what comes up. If you haven't, do it now and you will see the search results page literally tilt to give you a better idea of what these words mean. This will work only if you use latest browsers which support HTML5 and CSS3. So, Internet Explorer users, use Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari for a while to use this.

Do a barrel roll
Google Tricks & Easter Eggs
'Do a barrel roll' in its true sense means to do a 360 degree spin. Google takes practical demonstrations way too seriously for this one and literally spins the search results page to give you a clearer idea of the meaning of this phrase. Don't believe me? Go search Google for Do a barrel roll now and see your world turn around.

This Easter egg is apparently a tribute to Star Fox, a video game series developed by Nintendo, because searching Google for Z or R Twice also does the barrel roll, just like in Star Fox. Many bloggers interpreted a lot of different things from this, but Google clarified that this fun trick was created by a Google Engineer solely for the purpose of entertaining users along with showing the power of new HTML5 and CSS3 technologies. Like the previous Easter egg, this will only work in modern browsers.

Binary, Octal and Hexadecimal Number systems
Another one of those literal Google Easter eggs. If you search Google for "Binary", "Octal" or "Hexadecimal" (without quotes) with Search Plus Your World disabled, Google will show the number of results in the same number system. For example, searching Google for hexadecimal will return the number of results like in the image below.

Octal, Binary & Hexadecimal

The "Did you mean?" feature of Google often helps many users to get to the right results when they type something different from what they intended to search. If you search Google for recursion, the same feature takes you to an endless loop of clicks all linking to the same results page thereby completing recursion, which occurs when something calls itself. Seriously geeky.

Recursion Google Easter egg

Another one of those "Did you mean?" Easter eggs. Search Google for Anagram and Google will instantly ask whether you meant "Nag A Ram" which is one of the anagrams of the word "anagram." Google really shows their word-playing skills with this one.

Asking Google to define Anagram makes Google ask if you meant nerd fame again.

Are you a fan of ASCII art? Google surely is. Search Google for ASCII art and Google will greet you with a search results page having an ASCII version of the Google logo at the place where normal logo should have been. This Easter egg does not work anymore. When it did work, it looked like the image given below.
ASCII art Google Easter Egg

Google Calculator Easter Eggs: The loneliest number
Google Secrets
Do you know which is the loneliest number? Ask Google Calculator. Search Google for the loneliest number and the in-search Google Calculator will give one as the answer, which apparently is a tribute to the Harry Nilsson's song "One."

Once in a Blue Moon
Google Tricks Easter Eggs
Ever wondered how much is 'once in a blue moon'? You must have heard this phrase often but Google calculator will give you the exact value of this phrase and surprisingly, it denotes frequency rather than time. Go search Google for this to get "1.16699016 × 10-8 hertz" as the answer.

The number of horns on a unicorn
Want to know the number of horns on a unicorn? Google calculator can help. Searching Google for the number of horns on a unicorn will give 1 as the answer.

Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the universe and everything
Google Easter eggs
Google is omniscient. Even the "answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything" is known to Google. Just search Google for the above phrase and Google calculator will give you an answer. What are you waiting for? Just go to Google and find the true meaning of life.

[Pause to give you the time to search]

Surprised by the answer (42)? This is a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a popular novel based on a radio show (by the same name) of the late seventies. Google engineers surprised you with these tricks, didn't they?

Recommended: Google : I'm feeling lucky tricks and jokes.

Reader Comments

Sara Bose said...

Thanks for revealing these superb valuable resources.

Anonymous said...

On Youtube, to skip 30% through the video append &wadsworth=1 (aka. the Wadsworth constant) to the URL.

Anonymous said...

cool stuff

Author About
Akhilesh Sharma maintains and writes Tweak And Trick. He is a technology enthusiast and a science student.
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