10 Google Hangouts Easter Eggs

Rudie Obias, Mental Floss
Rudie Obias, Mental Floss

The development team at Google hides fun little Easter eggs in almost all of the company’s products and services—including Google Hangouts. Here are 10 fun tricks you can use to amuse yourself and your friends the next time you chat.

1. /corgis

If you need more dogs in your life, simply type “/corgis” into Google Hangouts and watch a short-legged pup strut across your chatbox. There are two different corgis, so keep typing the command for a chance to see each dog.

2. /ponystream


Rudie Obias, Mental Floss

Are you bored at work? Type “/ponystream” (with the forward slash at the beginning) into Google Hangouts and watch a never ending stream of My Little Pony ponies prancing across your chat window. You'll notice that some have hats, sunglasses, and even flaming manes.

3. /ponies


Rudie Obias, Mental Floss

If you're overwhelmed by the endless stream, type in “/ponies” and only a single pony will appear on your screen.

4. /shydino


Rudie Obias, Mental Floss

Type “/shydino” into Google Hangouts and a small green dinosaur will slide onto the screen and hide behind an even smaller yellow house in the middle of the chat window. Typing it again will make it go away. "We had Hangouts users mistaking one of our emoji (the house with the tree) for a shy dinosaur hiding behind a house," Sanjay Mavinkurve, Google's Lead User Experience Designer for Hangouts, told HuffPost. "It seemed a shame to not have such an emoji, so we added the Easter egg."

5. /roll

This trick’s perfect if you’re playing any sort of online game that involves rolling dice. Simply type “/roll” into Google Hangouts, and you and whoever you’re chatting with will see a message saying you’ve rolled the die. You aren’t limited to traditional die, either. If you’re playing a virtual group game like Dungeons & Dragons that calls for a 20-sided die, type /rolld20.

6. /shruggie

If you want to respond to someone’s message with the classic ASCII shrug emoji but don’t want to type all the different characters, type /shruggie into Google Hangouts and the internet’s favorite symbol of ambivalence will appear.

7. /bikeshed


Are you sick of the simple white background in Google Hangouts? Type in “/bikeshed” and your chatbox will change to a random color. If the hue doesn't quite match your desktop, type it again for a new color.

8. /pitchforks


Rudie Obias, Mental Floss

Angry at someone’s comment, but lack the words to say so? If you type “/pitchforks” into Google Hangouts, villagers with fire and pitchforks will run back and forth across your chat window.

9. Konami Code


Rudie Obias, Mental Floss

Google programmers love the Konami Code, which originally appeared in old school video games like Contra and Castlevania. You can tell how much they love it because they’ve included the special code in many services, including Google Hangouts. Leave your cursor open in Google Hangouts and click the following keys: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, and then hit Enter. This will change your background from dull white to a lively mountainside setting with green trees and blue skies.

The Konami Code also works with Google Now (it unlocks “unlimited free” searches), Google Chromebook Pixel (it starts an exciting light show with its LED lightstrip), and Google Play Games on a touchscreen device (it unlocks trophies).

10. /8ball

Need answers for life’s important questions, but don’t have a trusty Magic 8-Ball on hand? Type “/8ball” into Google Hangouts and see what your future holds. And, if you don’t like the answer to your question, just type “/ball” again and again until you get the response you’re looking for.

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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How the Trapper Keeper Trapped the Hearts of '80s and '90s Kids

Courtesy of Cinzia Reale-Castello
Courtesy of Cinzia Reale-Castello

No matter when or where you grew up, back-to-school shopping typically revolved around two things: clothing and school supplies. And if you’re an adult of a certain age, you probably had a Trapper Keeper on that latter list of must-buy items.

Like the stickers, skins, and cases that adorn your smartphones and laptops today, Trapper Keepers were a way for kids to express their individual personalities. The three-ring binders dominated classrooms in the '80s and '90s, and featured a vast array of designs—from colorful Lisa Frank illustrations to photos of cool cars and popular celebrities—that allowed kids to customize their organizational tools. 

In this episode of "Throwback," we're ripping open the Velcro cover and digging into the history of the Trapper Keeper. You can watch the full episode below.

Be sure to head here and subscribe so you don't miss an episode of "Throwback," where we explore the fascinating stories behind some of the greatest toys and trends from your childhood.