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Google’s top three Easter eggs

Graeme Parton

A large number of us use Google every day. We’re certainly guilty at Pressroom – it’s difficult to find a  screen here without one of the tabs bearing that familiar multi-coloured logo. While the search giant only celebrated its 15th birthday very recently, it’s pretty difficult to remember how we found stuff out before it existed. Of course, other search engines have always been around, but none quite as powerful, dominant and convenient as this.

Part of the company’s popularity lies in its simplicity, with even more appeal coming from the fact that it knows not to take itself too seriously. Whether it’s with the cutesy green Android mascot or the regular interactive Doodles on its homepage, the firm knows how to engage its users. Google’s sense of fun is no better exemplified, however, than with the endlessly entertaining needles it buries in its giant search-result haystacks.

‘Easter eggs’, as they are known, are the messages and in-jokes which software developers hide in their programs for users to stumble on at a later date – and it’s safe to say that the guys at Google are fans. Here are a few of the best gems hidden in the firm’s market-leading features:

‘Do a barrel roll’

A particularly exciting one for those who grew up playing Nintendo consoles in the late 90s, this involves the user typing the phrase ‘do a barrel roll’ – which was made famous in the game Starfox 64 – into the search box. The page will then respond accordingly and spin 360 degrees before leaving you with the results of the search… as though you actually needed them.


The team here is particularly fond of language – which is lucky seeing as we specialise in providing quality content. This simple yet witty quip from Google relies on the user searching the web with the term ‘anagram’. As well as explaining the concept of anagrams, the site cleverly asks “Did you mean: Nag a ram?”

Google Maps has Hobbit of fun

While Google is predominantly a search engine, there’s little doubt that its other features play a huge part in its success. Maps, in particular, has revolutionised the way in which people get from one place to another – by car, on foot or even using public transport. In a nod to fantasy novel guru J.R.R Tolkien, the Californian firm decided to offer some words of advice to the writer’s fictional characters. When users request walking directions from ‘The Shire’ – where the Hobbits live – to Mordor, home of the evil Sauron, the page returns the warning “Use caution – One does not simply walk into Mordor.” – a commonly-quoted line from Lord of the Rings character Boromir.

There’s a lot of fun to be had on Google, with the firm releasing new tricks regularly to keep users engaged. While the three examples above are all active at the time of writing, they aren’t guaranteed to work in all versions of all browsers. Google’s own Chrome browser is recommended for consistency.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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