|Coded Easter Eggs|
|Monday, 18 April 2022|
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Google is famous for hoaxes and April Fools so it is hardly surprising to find that it is a rich source of easter eggs. What is different about these compared to the early examples discussed above, these quirky features are actively encouraged by the company and many of them result from individual Googler's 20% projects - the side projects many employees are expect to do for up to a day per working week. Easter eggs associated with the names of successive versions of Android fall into this category and if you want to know more see Android Easter Eggs Revealed.
Google Map Features
One of the most famous Google Easter Eggs was the discovery that a combination of Ctrl + Alt + A in Google Earth took the user into a basic flight simulator that let you fly above the Earth's surface. This was later incorporated as a feature. One that was only temporary was that viewers who zoomed in close to the Moon's surface found it transformed into a piece of holey cheese.
Google Maps also has a sense of humour although many of its former Easter Eggs have also been removed. At one time if you asked for directions from New York to London you were told to swim across the Atlantic. There are similar jokes currently left in, however. If you try Tokyo to Los Angeles the route takes you via Hawaii and includes two instructions to "Kayak across the Pacific Ocean". These are made funnier by being interspersed among the "normal" instructions we are used to seeing in Driving Directions.
(Click to enlarge)
Similarly, were you to ask for directions from Japan to China one advised method is to "Jet ski across the Pacific Ocean". It isn't just sea crossings that are candidates for jokes. Directions for going from Snowdon to the Brecon Beacons in Wales includes the option to go "by dragon".
Search Results With A Twist
Google is synonymous with search and there are plenty of quirky answers that count as easter eggs - because they are unexpected, harmless and delightful. One of the earliest and simplest is when you search for "anagram":
In a similar vein if you search for "recursion" you'll see "Did you mean recursion?".
Another Search surprise happens if you search for Bletchley Park:
The code below the image replaces the title, a gentle reminder that it was the headquarters of the code breaking effort and is now a vistor attraction on this theme.
The Google calculator also has some surprises in store. If you type into search "answer to life the universe and everything" the calculator returns:
a reference to Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".
It returns = 1 to the search "number of horns on Unicorn" and also to "the loneliest number" - from the song by Harry Nillson. Type in a baker's dozen and you'll see = 13, "once in a blue moon" equals "1.16699016 × 10-8 hertz".
The more surprising thing is that you can perform arithmetic with these results:
A recent word-related easter egg is "askew":
If you smile at that one try: Do a Barrel Roll.
I'm Google - A Restoration Project
The barrel roll shown above comes courtesy of elgoog.im (read it backwards) aka Google Mirror, a project that has the mission to "create, restore, and discover interactive Google Easter Eggs". The barrel role is one of its "enhanced" easter eggs - and left me feeling dizzy. To know more about this project, which is primarily a repository for eater eggs that have been withdrawn by Google, and discover what more it has on offer including the popular Zerg Rush and Atari Breakout mini-games, see Easter Eggs - The Hunt Made Easy.
Top of the list of restored easter eggs is Thanos which was created by Google in April 2019 to celebrate the, then, forthcoming release of Marvel Studios Avengers: Endgame. In common with other movie-related promotions it had a limited shelf-life - but thanks to elgooc you can still see the Thanos Snap effect - click the golden guantlet to see half your search results dissolve before your very eyes.
The menu also lets you see the Wizard of Oz effect - the destructive force of a tornado - and to play enhanced versions of the games that were formerly hidden by Google - Dinosaur, Snake and Pac-Man.
And how is this for nostalgia? Yes, it's the Google Zipper!
Fun and Beyond
Returning to Google proper, there are so-called easter eggs which have been allowed to remain because they are in fact highly-prized utilities. See what happens when you search "flip a coin" or "roll dice:
You have a perfectly fair coin that you can toss as many times as you want and as many dice of different number of sides that you can throw without losing them under the furniture.
While most Google Search easter eggs are easy to initiate there's one that is distinctly difficult. It's the animated display of an Easter Egg, but the search box contains the equation itself and type that in is quite a chore.
Looking at the evolution of the coded easter egg, the Google effect has been to give us more fun and when Google called time on these possibly harfmful pleasures elgoog has restored them in a safer environment.
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|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 19 April 2022 )|