Sometimes, it seems like the internet is full of tedium — waiting for a page to load, juggling different passwords, and trying to find the perfect GIF image to describe your mood. But luckily, it’s also full of really cool nuggets — specifically in Google products.
Thanks to the clever developers at Google — who make it their mission to put the fun back into our daily routines — there are numerous “Easter eggs” hidden across Google’s suite of apps and tools that remind you how important the “human” side is to our favorite products.
Easter eggs are hidden gems, features, or moments of surprise buried within software and throughout the internet. They’re designed to catch you off guard and make you smile — if you can find them.
But why would you hide these fun, delightful gems? And since Easter eggs typically don’t add much functionally to the software or website, why bother taking the time to code them in?
A few years ago, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, Meghan Anderson, asked a few of our colleagues for their opinions on the matter. And while she found that you’ll get a different answer from every person you ask, most answers boil down to the same motive: “for the fun of it.”
Mike Champion, Tech Lead at HubSpot
“Adding an Easter egg can be a fun diversion when writing challenging code … and it’ll hopefully amuse some people, too.”
Eric Peters, Senior Growth Marketing Manager at HubSpot Academy
“Easter eggs are fun to build and fun to find, because they reward users that care enough to find and get excited about them. They create this feeling of being an insider with the application or company, which can be incredibly valuable in terms of brand loyalty and engagement.”
Laura Fitton, Inbound Marketing Evangelist at HubSpot
“I feel like Easter eggs are part of the ‘developer’ personality. These are very smart people who love solving puzzles, and the intricacies of their work isn’t ever fully appreciated by most of the customers using their product. So by hiding an Easter egg, they can reward the customers who do take that extra initiative to really dig in and appreciate the software — and what goes into making it.”
Sharing these gems feels a bit like revealing the secret to a magic trick. After all, half the fun surrounding Easter eggs comes from the hunt for them. So, if you prefer to be surprised, stop now and instead grab the guide below to see how interactive content can help your next marketing campaign:
11 Surprising Google Easter Eggs
Easter egg hunting is a little easier if you’ve got a map. With some help from co-workers, Reddit, Little Big Details, Quora, and other sites, I’ve compiled a starter map for you, complete with some of the best hidden features on Google right now.
It’s been a long time since Google was “just” a search engine. But for those who want to have a bit of fun with its search feature, you’re in luck — Google’s developers have a sense of humor.
To start, look at what happens when you enter the query, “<blink>”:
The word “blink” actually blinks in all of the search results. It’s a sneaky, cheap thrill for those of us who are easily amused.
2. Do a Barrel Roll
This is probably my favorite Easter egg on Google. Type in “do a barrel roll” into the Google search bar, and see what happens. I’ll wait.
All done? Here’s a snapshot of your journey to remember it by:
Now that you’re right-side up again, let’s reflect on your experience. This funny feature is one of the oldest Easter eggs hidden in Google’s programming, but it never seems to get old.
“Do a barrel roll” is just the tip of the iceberg, though. If you can believe it, there’s also a function that allows you to “do a barrel roll twice.” Type this command into Googe’s search bar and click the first result that appears. This webpage rolls you around twice for maximum dizziness and, as your reward, offers a series of other Easter eggs on Elgoog — Google’s mirror-image website (“Elgoog” being “Google” spelled backwards).
3. Google Maps
While it didn’t take long for this easter egg to become discovered (and widely talked about), it’s still a pretty cool online treat. For April Fool’s Day 2017, Google Maps allowed users to turn its maps platform into a game of Ms. PAC-MAN:
The feature may have been intended as an April Fool’s joke, but as of the following Monday, it was still present on Google Maps — and the top search results for “Google Maps Ms. PAC-MAN” mostly covered ways to remove it.
4. Google’s Dinosaur Game
Does this dinosaur look familiar?
Chrome browser users might recognize him from a lack of internet connection. But now, there’s actually reason to rejoice when Chrome can’t connect. Even if you’re offline, when you land on that screen, watch what happens when you press the spacebar:
Well, I know what I’m doing next time the in-flight Wi-Fi isn’t working. And, good news for those who need more reason to procrastinate: Someone took the liberty to create the T-Rex Runner game page, so you can play any time. Plus, Android users can download the game here.
5. Bork, Bork, Bork!
If you’re familiar with the Muppets, chances are you’ve at least heard of the Swedish Chef character, who’s known to end his intro song with the words, “Bork, bork, bork!” Google has taken that phenomenon and incorporated it into its own language settings. Yes — “Bork, bork, bork!” is a language option.
To change your language settings, you must be logged into Google. Here are the steps to find this Easter egg:
- Once logged into Google, visit the Google Search homepage and click your profile picture on the top-right.
- Select “My Account,” and click “Language & Input Tools” in the Account preferences box on the menu that appears.
- Select the “Language” bar, and click the pencil icon on the next page to find “Bork, bork, bork!” as an available language.
- Select this as your default language and return to the Google Search homepage. (Don’t worry, you can return to English with a shortcut link below the search bar.)
Here’s what Google’s homepage looks like after selecting that as your preferred language:
“Feeleeng loocky”? Excellent. Try your hand at Google’s other language options, which — like Facebook — include Pirate and Klingon.
6. ‘I’m Feeling…’
I’ll admit it — I’ve never really bothered by Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button below the search bar because, well, I always seem to forget it’s there. But it looks like I’ve been missing out on a little trick.
If you hover your mouse over the button — without typing anything into the search box first — the text will spin like a slot machine into other options, like “I’m Feeling Hungry,” or “I’m Feeling Stellar.” Clicking on one will bring you to a topic-specific page:
7. Play Dreidel
Hanukkah season or not, this Google Easter egg is available year round at your command. Specifically, that command is the Google search, “play dreidel.”
Type these words into the Google search bar to play an endless digital game of dreidel with Google. Just click “SPIN AGAIN” below the blue dreidel, and Google will randomly land on one of the four classic Hebrew characters after a three-second spin.
8. Tic Tac Toe
Here’s another crowd-pleaser for the tabletop gamer. Google creatively allows searchers to play tic tac toe right on the results page. Just type in “tic tac toe” into Google’s search bar. It’s a nice surprise if you were initially looking for a tic tac toe website or template.
The best part? You can play against a friend on the same computer — or against Google. That’s right, challenge the search giant itself to a game of Xs and Os.
If you’re playing against Google, this Easter egg allows you to adjust the difficulty to “Easy,” “Medium,” or “Impossible.” Google has the gaul to skip right past Hard. One can only imagine the tactics it throws at you.
Looking for a definition of the word “askew”? Why tell you, when Google can show you. There’s something a little, well, askew about the page below, isn’t there?
Type in “askew” into Google’s search bar and you’ll get both the word’s definition and a literally askew results page to really make sure the meaning sinks in. Who knows how many other visual demonstrations Google produces when expanding your vocabulary …
10. The Answer to Life
There are high expectations in this Easter egg, I know. But for fans of Douglas Adams’ book, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” it’s worth this long entry into Google’s search bar. Type “the answer to life, the universe, and everything,” and you’ll get the charming and accurate result below:
Followers of Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” will know “42” as the true meaning of life. For others, it’s an inspiration to read this terrific novel — and do some basic math on Google’s native calculator tool (which you can also access by simply typing “calculator”).
11. Atari Breakout
Last, but definitely not least, we have a callback to the classic video game console from the 1970s — and a favorite mobile game to this day. Type in “atari breakout” into Google Images and get your arrow keys ready. A game of “Breakout” breaks out on your computer screen.
The colored blocks you see above are made up of all the image results for “atari breakout.” That means if I play my cards right, the picture above might in fact be part of your next round of this addicting game. When you’re done, simply click the “Return to image search” button next to the pause and volume icons.
For the sake of my productivity (and your own), I’ll stop there. But that’s hardly a comprehensive list of the internet’s Easter eggs, and all of them prove how entertaining your users is the key to their loyalty — no matter what product, solution, or information they’re looking for.
There are countless more out there to find, so we’ll leave the rest of the hunt up to you. Let the search begin.