To celebrate Easter, the team at Flaunt Digital are discussing their favourite Google Easter eggs. From the Google Easter eggs with hidden meanings and the ones that display tricks to the games that we just can’t get enough of, we’re delving into our favourite Google Easter eggs out there hiding in the web, giving us inside jokes, nostalgia and iconic games.
What Is A Google Easter Egg?
We’ve all come to know and love the classic chocolate Easter eggs we usually associate with Easter, but what are Google Easter eggs and why are they becoming increasingly popular?
Google Easter eggs are hidden features or messages ingrained into a web page, predominantly Google. They began as a somewhat inside joke between web developers but are now becoming increasingly popular amongst the wider public with many contemporary Google Easter eggs presenting themselves more openly with cultural or historic references and, more recently, as interactive games.
No one knows exactly how many Easter eggs there are out there hiding in the web waiting to be found, but there are new ones being discovered every day. Employees at the giant search engine, Google, are encouraged to spend 20% of their working hours on projects of personal interest that they think could be of benefit to Google, and Google Easter eggs are often created during this time.
Google Easter eggs are often well hidden so that users experience a bigger sense of gratitude when they discover them, helping form bonds between their creators and finders. We all know how exhilarating it was to find hidden chocolate Easter eggs as children. Well, think of Google Easter eggs as the same thrilling hunt, minus the chocolate eggs… plus they are available all year round at the click of a button!
There are many different types of Google Easter eggs hiding on the web. The three main types include those with hidden meanings, those that can be classified as tricks and now we have games that you can play with ease on your Google browser too. We’ve compiled our favourite 5 Google Easter eggs from each of these three categories. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Our Top 5 Google Easter Eggs With Hidden Meanings
We’re kicking off with our favourite Google Easter eggs with hidden meanings. Arguably the most gratifying type of Google Easter eggs to find, they have made their mark in the tech community for building bonds between creators and finders.
- “Recursion” is the process of repeating items in a self-similar way. Without getting too technical, recursion is a method of solving a computational problem, in which the solution depends on smaller instances of the same problem. In other words, it generally means to have an activity again and again, forever because the activity itself consists of the same activity. The objects are repeated infinite times, and the iteration runs forever. As a logical next step, Google asks, “Did you mean: recursion?” even when searching the word with the correct spelling. We love the cleverness and somewhat mocking tone this Google Easter egg has. It creates a real sense of community between professionals in this industry
- “The answer to life, the universe and everything”. In his classic book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote “the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42.” For years, people have been trying to decipher the “hidden” meaning behind the number 42, but Adams himself said: “The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. I sat on my desk, stared into the garden and thought 42 will do.” Nonsense or not, Google’s calculator returns the number 42 in response to this query, creating an inside joke between those who know the back story.
- Searching “superb owl” around the time of the Super Bowl will show a Knowledge Graph for the Super Bowl, along with an information panel titled “Superb Owl” with an image of an owl wearing a crown. This is in response to an ongoing joke about the common misspelling of “Super Bowl” as “Superb Owl”. A simple yet funny Google Easter egg that uses a joke to create an interesting talking point.
- “Askew” will alter search results to display a literal interpretation of your query. Search for “askew” and your results will be displayed slightly askew. There is no SEO manipulation here — they still function as “normal” search results, they just look crooked. We love the way Google uses the literal meaning of your query to visually present its answer.
- “Anagram” when searched on Google will present you with an anagram – “nag a ram”. An anagram is the rearrangement of a word or phrase into a different word or phrase, using exactly the same letters but in a different order or sequence and Google search results show you exactly that. What’s more, “define anagram” is also presented as an anagram – “nerd fame again”. The way this Google Easter egg uses such literalness to make a joke is iconic of these ‘hidden meaning’ eggs.
Our Top 5 Google Easter Egg Tricks
Next up we have our favourite Google Easter eggs that cause your Google browser to perform tricks. These Easter eggs are funny, iconic and just give Google search some much-loved pizazz. There are so many trick-performing Google Easter eggs to choose from but we’ve narrowed them down to give you our top 5.
- “Google in 1998” on a desktop browser will display a layout similar to the one Google used for its search engine in 1998. This simple Google Easter egg takes us right back to the 90s and gives us a real sense of nostalgia which we just adore.
- Searching for “googly eyes” will cause a pair of googly eyes to slide from the top of the page to cover each letter “O” in the top Google logo. The eyes will follow the location of the user’s cursor. We love the fact that this Easter egg is easily found by unbeknownst ‘googly eye’ fanatics and not just tech-savvy searchers on the hunt for Easter eggs.
- “Do a barrel roll” – A barrel roll is an aeroplane manoeuvre in which the aircraft carries out a 360 degree roll while continuing to fly forward. Google took some poetic licence with this definition, “spinning” the result page through a 360 degree loop.
- “Cha-Cha Slide Song” – If there’s a theme tune to growing up in the early 2000s, it’s the Cha-Cha Slide song. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Cha-Cha Slide song in 2020, Google released an incredible Easter egg in its memory. If you search the song, you will see a microphone; on clicking, you’ll get a one-minute search page going through the dance moves of that song. This Google Easter egg just proves how iconic this song continues to be.
- Search for ‘Google Gravity’, on the Google homepage, and then click ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ to see for yourself a literal demonstration of gravity as everything on the Google home screen drops to the ground. You can also hold the Google doodle and use it to throw everything displayed on your screen around, causing havoc to the layout of your browser. It is also entirely usable, and you can search for anything. This is another example of visually presenting literal definitions of your query to create a simple yet funny Google Easter egg.
Our Top 5 Google Easter Egg Games
Google’s take on retro video games is whisking us away to the 90s and giving us all the nostalgic feels. Using the nation’s love of the staple video games we were brought up playing, these Google Easter eggs are doing their job to keep these much-loved video games relevant.
- The Dinosaur Game
We all know a little too well how infuriating it can be when your internet decides to shut down. Well, in an effort to occupy the victims of poor internet connection, Google has created a simple yet entertaining Google Easter egg – The Dinosaur Game. If your internet decides to shut down and you want to pass the time, just press the spacebar on your keyboard while you’re on the offline search error page and you can start playing a hidden and embedded Google game that is surprisingly way more captivating than it gets credit for. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely stumbled across this Google Easter egg before. It’s a 10/10 for our charming Dino Easter egg.
2. Super Mario Brothers
A game that is etched into the hearts of the nation and signifies a simpler time before complex video games took over everyday life. Mario is arguably the most famous video game character ever, so of course he deserves his very own Google Easter egg. Simply search ‘Super Mario Brothers’ on Google and it’ll display the search with a question box icon below it. Upon clicking it, you’re reminded of your childhood days with the iconic music and “200 points” on each tap. Another nostalgic Google Easter egg that we love, well done Google.
Pac-Man is another game that has been adored by millions since its release date back in the early 80s. Searching “Pac Man” in Google presents you with the option to play a game to transport you back to your nostalgic memories. Clearly we’re loving the nostalgia again with this pick.
Searching “pi” and clicking the “π” symbol will start a memory game, in which the calculator highlights the digits of pi and prompts the user to repeat the sequence. The sequence gets longer every turn. Your high score can be stored, but will reset after reloading the page. We all remember trying to memorise the sequence of pi in our school days so we love that this clever Google Easter egg seems to make a joke out of this whilst prompting us to learn the sequence at the same time.
If the main thing you miss from your first ever mobile device is the beloved Snake game, then look no further. You can play a “Snake” game on Google, which hasn’t seemed to get any more comfortable than the last time you left it. We’ve left Nokia mobiles in the past but the Snake game lives on. Search ‘play snake‘ on Google and prepare to be whisked back to the 90’s.
So there we have it, our favourite Google Easter eggs with hidden meanings, those that perform tricks and the games we love getting involved with. Why not go out there and test them yourself? What’s your favourite Google Easter egg? To join the conversation follow us on Facebook or Instagram.