10 Google Jokes and Easter Eggs that You Might Have Missed
There are many reasons why Google became one of the most loved companies of our generation. Aside being an excellent search engine and one of the top innovators of our time, Google is a company that has managed to keep its sense of humor. Its numerous jokes and Easter eggs can attest to this, and for years, Internet users have been cracking up discovering these little goofs.
And while we can never be sure if the Internet has uncovered every single Easter egg and joke out there (Google is a big company with a lot of products, after all), below is a list of the best Google treats on the web. Enjoy.
Conway’s Game of Life – The most recently-discovered Easter egg, this one involves typing the query “conway’s game of life” in the search box. Hit the enter button and you’ll find the right side of the search results page to be overrun by cellular automaton. It’s a very geeky trick, and users who don’t know who John Horton Conway is probably won’t get it. Still though, it’s pretty neat. You can watch a video demonstration on Search Engine Land here.
Chuck Norris – Chuck Norris can divide by zero. Chuck Norris counted to infinity—twice. Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door. These are just some of the “facts” that you’ll read in Google’s knowledge graph box when you search for Chuck Norris. You get a different tidbit each time to refresh the page, allowing you to learn about Norris’ other super-human abilities. Yep, as The Next Web put it, “It looks like the Knowledge Graph team likes to have fun at work.”
Note: This isn’t the only Chuck Norris Easter egg, though. As Search Engine Watch pointed out, the old Chuck Norris Google Easter egg surfaced when you type “Chuck Norris” and hit the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. Google will then tell you that “Google won't search for Chuck Norris because it knows you don't find Chuck Norris, he finds you”.
Project Virgle – This may be an oldie, but it’s definitely still a goodie. For its April Fool’s joke in 2008, the search giant supposedly teamed up with The Virgin Group for Virgle, a project that aims to establish permanent human settlement on Mars. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin, together with Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page announced their search for Virgle pioneers that would be sent to Mars to build civilizations on the planet. Aspiring pioneers will need to fill up a form and submit a 30-second video application. Read all about Project Virgil here or check out this video of Page and Brin telling us all about the project.
Job Opening: Autocompleter – This hilarious “job opening” surfaced on April 1st 2011. Google’s job site displayed this video featuring Google "autocompleter" Michael Taylor. In the video, Taylor describes his job as an autocompleter where he predicts what users are about to type next. “I try to make a prediction as to what it is they’re searching for, and I type that back as quickly as I can. And if I’ve done my job right, the user sees it, clicks on it, and zoom! Instant results.” Yup, it’s a challenging job, but believe it or not, you don’t need to be a super tech genius to qualify. For this position, Google simply needs people that can type very fast. Oh, and who also happen to be psychic.
Lord Of The Rings Easter Egg – In late 2011, Tumblr blog rissaroni posted a screenshot of a Google Maps Easter that makes a reference to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Get directions on Google Maps and type in “The Shire” as your starting point and “Mordor” as your destination. You then indicate that you want walking directions, and Google will tell you the following: Use caution – One does not simply walk into Mordor.
Do a Barrel Roll – If you haven’t seen the Barrel Roll Easter then roll over to Google right now and type “do a barrel roll” in the search box. You’ll then see the search results screen roll around a few times. According to Mashable, the phrase is a reference to “Star Fox 64, the classic 1997 Nintendo game that sucked up a giant chunk of my life when I was a kid. Peppy, the game’s veteran space pilot rabbit, tells hero Fox McCloud to “do a barrel roll” (a feat accomplished by pressing “Z” or “R” twice) multiple times throughout the game.”
Zerg Rush – Another widely reported Easter egg, this one is in reference to the game Starcraft. Type in the term “zerg rush” on Google and you’ll produce an army of O’s that eat up your search results. You can try to fight back by double clicking on these O’s, but alas, they’re way too many, and too quick to be defeated. Once they have devoured all your search results, the O’s head to the top the screen spell out “GG”, which stands for “Good Game” in the realm of gamers.
Askew – Here’s a short and simple Google Easter egg. If don’t know what the term “askew” means, Google won’t just tell you, it will actually show you. Simply type the word “askew” in the search box, hit enter, and watch the search results page tilt.
Ninja in Google Reader – Here’s another nerdy (but relatively complicated) Easter Egg. If you’re a Google Reader user, then this will be quite a treat. Google Blogoscoped revealed that hitting this key sequence: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A will conjure up a ninja in your sidebar.
Google Pac-Man – On May 22, 2010, Google replaced its logo with a mini (but fully working) version of Pac-Man in honor of the game’s 30th anniversary. This spawned hours of fun on the Google homepage as nostalgic gamers relieved the fun of Pac-Man on their computers. Of course, like with all its other logo changes, Google reverted back to its original logo the next day. But in case you want to play a quick game of Pac-Man, Google’s mini version is still available at http://www.google.com/pacman/.
Image credit: RichardBH on Flickr