11 Google Services With Hidden Easter Eggs
There are various hidden Easter Eggs, jokes, and little timewasters in almost every Google service, product, or new device. Here's one: Go to YouTube. Start watching a video. Click outside the search bar and type "1980." This will launch a playable game of Missile Command above the video. Beware! The aliens are trying to destroy the video you’re watching. Here are a few more hidden Google gems you might have missed.
1. ChromeCast's Nod to Hitchhiker's Guide
Google’s latest device, Chromecast, makes it easier to stream online videos to your home TV. Its engineers and designers included a small Easter Egg in the form of its very clever serial number. “Model H2G2-42” is a reference to Douglas Adams’ science fiction novel Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. H2G2 is the fans’ abbreviation of the long title and 42 is “the ultimate answer to life the universe and everything,” referenced in the book.
2. Android's Sweet Digital Treats
Since 2008, Google’s mobile operating system has taken the name of a tasty dessert for every major release (the first was Cupcake for Android 1.5). Since the release of Gingerbread (Android 2.3), users have been able to make the sweet treats pop up on screen by going to the “About Device” section of “Settings" and tapping “Android Version."
In Gingerbread, the Android robot appeared with a zombie gingerbread man. Later Easter Eggs were more interactive: Flying ice cream sandwich bars appear when users held down the Android robot in Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Most recently, floating jelly beans emerge when users tapped the large jellybean icon for Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).
3., 4., and 5. Google Play Games, Docs, and Chromebook Pixel's Konami Code
In the late 80s, video game developers Konami utilized a special cheat code that could be used on the company's video games. The “Konami Code” was made popular with Contra for the Nintendo Entertainment System. When players input “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start” during the game’s title sequence, they could unlock 30 extra lives to get through the game instead of the standard three.
Google has used the Konami Code on a few of its products, including Google Play Games, Google Docs, and Google’s Chromebook Pixel. Swiping the Konami Code in the Google Play Games mobile app will unlock a clever achievement that reads, “All Your Games Belong To Us.” In Google Docs, typing the Konami Code will reverse your entire document, and in Google’s Chromebook Pixel, typing in the code will make the LCD stripe on the outside of the computer blink in a frenzy of various colors.
6. YouTube's Fun Search Results
In 2006, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion. Since the acquisition, Google placed a large number of Easter Eggs within YouTube videos and searches. Typing in “Use The Force Luke” in the search bar will queue up Star Wars videos with a wavy effect as if the Force controlled the results.
Searching for “Beam Me Up Scotty,” will load the video results as if they were beamed from the U.S.S. Enterprise.
The fun isn't limited to just sci-fi. Earlier this year, the Internet meme “Harlem Shake” was a huge pop culture phenomenon. Searching for “Do The Harlem Shake” will make the YouTube video search results do the very popular Internet meme.
And looking for “Ponies” or “Bronies” in YouTube brings up not just My Little Pony videos, but animated ponies racing across the screen.
7. Google Hangouts' Gifs (and Ponies)
In May 2013, Google merged all their chat and messaging services into one convenient app called Google Hangouts. Not only did this allow Google users to chat with anyone on a mobile device or computer, it also allowed users to send people various animated GIFs and pixel streams.
Typing in “/Pitchforks” in a Google Hangouts dialogue box will launch a stream of angry townspeople racing across the screen with pitchforks. “/ShyDino” will feature a green dinosaur hiding behind a small house in your chat window, while typing “/BikeShed” will also change the background color. And they didn't forget My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in Google Hangouts, either: Typing in “/Ponies” or “/Ponystream” will make animated ponies dash across your chat window.
8. Google Maps' Google View
Searching for the Google Street View of the Googleplex Headquarters in Mountain View, California will result in an image of Google employees with a huge banner that reads, “I Love StreetView.”
9. Google Search's Searches
Google’s primary web service and product has always been search, so it stands to reason that the largest amount of Easter Eggs can be found when you’re searching for something online.
Searching for “Do A Barrel Roll” (or “Z or R Twice”) will make your search results do a complete 360-degree spin. This is a direct reference to the video game Star Fox 64 for the Nintendo 64 video game console. Doing a Google Image search for “Atari Breakout” will launch a playable version of the addictive video game using the image results. Typing in “Tilt” or “Askew” in a Google search bar will bring up the results on a slightly tilted search page.
Google even plays “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" when you search for “Bacon Number (name of an actor).” If you search for “Bacon Number Kevin Bacon,” the answer is zero.
10. Google Play's Unicorns
Google’s online digital store is the one-stop shop for Android and Google users to buy music, movies, TV shows, mobile apps, and books. If you do a search without typing or entering text in the search bar, “Unicorns” will automatically be searched.
11. Google Glass Team Photo
Google Glass is the company's first entry into the wearable computer market. At the moment, the Google Glass device is only available for the select few developers, journalists, and tech enthusiasts who were lucky enough to be chosen by Google for the elite BETA project and willing to spend $1500 for the wearable device.
But like all Google products, Google Glass includes a very clever Easter egg. If you tap on the device’s touchpad nine times while viewing the license agreement in “Device Info” within “Settings,” then tap “Meet Team” and it will bring up a photo of the entire Google Glass development team, which was taken using Google Glass.