Google Easter Eggs and Jokes: Google’s Funny Side

Living proof that search engines can have fun

Google's take on Atari Breakout, one of the search engine's best known Easter eggs.
One of Google’s best known Easter eggs: their take on Atari’s Breakout. Seen here is a game in session.

Over at Net66, some egg-citing news about Cadbury’s Creme Egg café in London has inspired our latest entry.  Many of you may be familiar with easter eggs in DVD or Blu Ray titles as well as the chocolate variety.  In the search engine world, Google’s easter eggs and jokes are just as familiar as the Smarties or Buttons eggs you remember.

Google’s Easter eggs are, in a nutshell, Google at play.  Our fellows in Stanford having a break from running the world’s number one search engine directory.  A whimsy, or rather an enjoyable selection of whimsies.  In the last decade or so, some may have come and gone, but Google still has a good sense of humour.  Whether it’s wordplay or flying on Google Earth, it is a nice diversion for your lunch break.

For our look at Google’s Easter eggs and jokes, here’s our run down.

Visual Easter Eggs

One thing Google isn’t short of is visual gags.  For example, changes to the browser window or any of its search preferences.

Askew: entering ‘askew’ sees the display of Google’s results at a slight tilt.

Atari Breakout: typing in Steve Jobs’ brick bashing game (as ‘Atari Breakout’) in the Images section returns a number of screenshots from the said game.  By default, each row is tinted into different colours with a rectangular bat and a ball at the bottom of your screen.  You can use the mouse as a paddle to move the bat left to right.

Barrel rolls: entering ‘do a barrel roll’ into the search box sees Google rotating in a clockwise fashion.

Blink HTML: typing in ‘blink html’ creates a blinking effect to the search engine’s results, where the text reads ‘blink’.  This was a popular effect on late 1990s web pages and analogue teletext systems (i.e. ORACLE, CEEFAX, Teletext).

Google Earth Flight Simulator: if you’re the proud owner of Google Earth, this plug-in enables you to fly around Earth within the said program.  You can also choose from a variety of aircraft, plus it supports joysticks as well as your keyboard and mouse.

Zerg Rush: typing in ‘Zerg Rush’ turns your Google browser window into a Missile Command/Starcraft clone using the Os from the previous Google logotype.

418 ‘I’m a teapot…’ error code: what started life as an April Fool’s Day prank in 1998 is specified as RFC 2324, under the fictitious Hyper Text Coffee Pot Protocol.

Wordplay based Easter Eggs

Anagram: a search for anagram returns the message “did you mean nag a ram?” which is… an anagram of anagram.  Below Google’s Smart Alec reply is the usual set of results concerning anagram related sites.

Define Anagram: more of same, except Google returns the message “did you mean nerd fame again?” No wonder we love Google.

Recursion: typing in ‘recursion’ on Google returns the message “did you mean recursion?” where doing so defines the phrase itself (which is a reflection of any given object).

Custom Language Settings

If you have used Google for most of your online life, you will be aware of its support for modern foreign languages.  In the language settings mode, there is support for more off the wall language settings, such as pirate mode or Pig Latin.  Here is some of our favourite modes:

  • Bork: displays your Google display in the style of The Muppets character known as The Swedish Chef.
  • Elmer Fudd: your Google display, in the style of Elmer Fudd speech.
  • Hacker: turns your Google into hacker speech with some letters changing to characters (i.e: uppercase ‘s’ to $ signs).
  • Pig Latin: turns your Google display into Pig Latin.  For example, Net66 in Pig Latin is Et66nay, with SEO in Manchester being known as EO in Manchestersay.
  • Pirate: ideal for International Talk Like A Pirate Day, your Google preferences in pirate speak.

Mathematical Easter Eggs

The answer to life, the universe and everything: though we at Net66 know the answer (it is 42 as per Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Google answers it in the same way as any mathematical equation with a mini calculator within its results.

Once in a Blue Moon: a straight answer is given in the same way as Google’s response to, for example, currency conversions, though the answer is 1.16699016 x 10-8 Hz.

Gone but not forgotten

There has been two previous articles on Google’s easter eggs (13 May 2013 and 14 April 2014) within the Net66 blog and since they were written, some had disappeared.  Sadly missed…

Google Maps Pacman: it was fun while it lasted, but this mash up of Namco’s maze game and Google Maps enabled you to chase ghosties and pick up power pills on the streets of Bacup or Manchester.  Or Vladivostok.

Marquee HTML: who remembers scrolling marquee effects on late 1990s websites? Entering ‘marquee html’ into Google made that possible with scrolling results.  To be honest, marquee effects could be a pain in the proverbial and they are frowned upon in Googleland anyway.

An easter egg of our own

Before we wrap up our rundown, we shall leave you with this clip from April 2014.

Net66, 21 January 2016.