by Paul Arnote (parnote)
Love 'em or hate 'em, Google is firmly and deeply entrenched in our online lives. And, for all the bad press that Google gets, "they" do have a sense of humor. You can get a sense for their sense of humor by checking out the Easter Eggs that they have made available to their users.
Shall We Play A Game?
Do you have a little time to kill? Fire up the Google search page, and type "solitaire" as your search term. You will be presented with an opportunity to play the classic solitaire card game to while away your time, right there in your browser. Not a big card game fan? You can enter "tic tac toe" as your search term, and you will be given a chance to play the classic tic tac toe game. Certainly everyone knows that the game is not winnable, but it can go a long way to filling up some empty time you might have. It sure beats sitting there bored out of your mind.
Take A Chance
Sometimes, it's best to leave some choices in life up to chance. Google can help you do that, too. Enter "roll a die" into the search box and you will be given a chance to roll a six sided die. Enter "spin a dreidel" and you will be presented with a spinning dreidel. If you're looking for a more clear cut choice with fewer outcomes (maybe just a "yes" or "no" answer), enter "flip a coin" into the search box.
Give It To Me Straight?
If you enter "askew" as your search term, the entire results page will be displayed askewed ... or crooked. It is a fun one. Want a mind melter? Take a look at the page source. There's a LOT of ciphering going on in the background.
Google puts you in the pilot seat, so to speak, with this Easter Egg. Enter "do a barrel roll" into the search box, and watch your screen literally perform a barrel roll ... just as if you were in an airplane.
Google is notorious for offering up suggestions when it thinks you might have misspelled a word in your search phrase. But Google will also look for anagrams, which are other words that can be made from another word, just by rearranging the letters. Enter "anagram" into your search box, and Google will ask you if you meant "nag a ram," which is the letters of anagram, rearranged. Another example of an anagram is iceman, which will make the word cinema when rearranged.
Down On The Farm, Sorta
Enter "what sound does a cat make" into the Google search bar, and you will be presented with a panel that offers up sound recordings of different animals. The first 11 animals are presented in the panel, and when you select "More Sounds," a total of 29 different animal sounds are offered up in a popup window. This is particularly fun with young children, to help teach them the sounds of different animals.
Trivia Buff's Delight!
If you like trivia, you'll love typing "fun facts" into your Google search bar. Google will randomly present to you a tidbit of trivia, along with a link to further satisfy your appetite for more knowledge. Keep pressing the "Ask Another Question" button at the bottom of the box to have Google randomly feed you more "fun facts."
Games From The Golden Age Of Computers
Type "super mario" into your Google search bar, and a brief synopsis of the game will show up on the right side of the screen. Clicking on the flashing question mark button will also play the familiar coin sound from the game. But, the fun doesn't end there. Check your search results, and you will most likely find a place to play your favorite game somewhere online, to help you waste a little free time.
There is something similar for Sega's character, Sonic The Hedgehog. Clicking on Sonic will have him spinning to your heart's delight.
Don't Rush It!
By entering "zerg rush" into your search bar, you will see a bunch of o's falling from the top of the screen. Before long, they will devour almost everything on your screen. If you're not familiar with the term zerg rush (don't worry ... I wasn't either), it "is a term used in several real-time strategy games (RTS) to describe an overpowering attack by a player against his opponent, usually early in the game. This term was popularized by "StarCraft"."
Google is famous for many of their Doodles that commemorate various items from history. Back in 2010, Google made a Pacman Doodle that you can actually play, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the release of Pacman. Just type "pacman" into your Google search bar, then click the "Click to Play" button on the Doodle. It can be a bit challenging at first, but you'll soon get the hang of it. Before you know it, you'll be wasting all kinds of time on the Google branded version of the classic arcade game.
I can remember wasting SO many hours of my teenage years playing the Atari game Breakout! Well, you can waste many hours of your time now playing Breakout. Enter "atari breakout" into the Google search bar, then click on the first of the images that appear on the right side of the screen. You can then play a game (or 20) of Breakout!, right there in your browser window.
Keeping The Beat
For all you musicians out there, Google offers up a little assistance. Just enter "metronome" in your Google search bar, and Google will provide you a fully adjustable metronome to help you keep the beat. It defaults to 100 beats per minute, but can be adjusted as slow as 40 bpm, and as high as 218 bpm.
On The Level
This one is only available on your mobile device (phone or tablet). Just type "bubble level" into the Google search bar, and Google will display a bubble level in the browser window. But not just any browser will work. From what I've been able to test, this ONLY works in the Google Chrome browser ... at least, on my Android-based LG phone. This will NOT work in the Firefox browser (which was the first one I tried). The bubble level will also show you the angle down below the bubble (pretty steady hands, huh, to maintain that 0.0 degree angle while taking the screenshot?!). So, you can also use the bubble level to help find an angle. I wish I had known about this when I was building the roof of my chicken coop! It would have saved me a LOT of headaches and wrong calculations. Of course, if you need a bubble level on your mobile device but don't want to use the Google Chrome browser, you can always download and install a bubble level app from your device's app store. At least this method works without installing anything extra on your mobile device.
Texting Before Texting Was Popular
This is the latest one, discovered very recently by a Reddit user. Those who have been around computers for a while will remember text based adventure games, like Zork. I remember playing Hunt The Wumpus way, way back in the early 1970s when my father would bring home a very expensive and very large "terminal" from his work (he repaired complex mechanical and electronic office machines) that connected over a 110 baud modem that the telephone handset was cradled in, connected to some large mainframe computer located in some far away, distant city.
To access the hidden Google Easter Egg text adventure, first search for "text adventure" in the Google Chrome omnibar. Sorry Firefox and Opera users (and users of other browsers), but it appears this only works in Google Chrome.
Next, from the 3-dot hamburger menu, select More Tools > Developer Tools. In the window that opens, select the "Console" tab.
You should see "Would you like to play a game? (yes/no)" in the Java console (last line displayed in the image above). Answer "yes" to start the game.
You are the large blue "G" displayed in the third image above. The goal of the game is to search the landscape, using the single word commands in the third image above, to find your "friends" red "o", yellow "o", blue "g", green "l", and red "e". You, of course, are the first blue "g". If you haven't figured it out by now, by "finding" your "friends," you spell the word g-o-o-g-l-e.
Ha! And as if you needed help to find another time waster!
Google is always adding new Easter Eggs to their products. They are fun, and certainly, they are a distraction from the monotony of many tasks. They are also a distraction from the worries about what Google has become, as well as what they are becoming. Google has taken a LOT of heat lately for many of their decisions and actions, and deservedly so. They have brought that scrutiny and those harsh opinions upon themselves. But, it is nice to know that these "distractions" exist, for those times when we would welcome a distraction.
There are several more Google Easter Eggs than the ones I've highlighted here. To see a full list of the known Google Easter Eggs, go here. Some only work during certain times of the year, some are no longer active, but most are, if nothing else, entertaining.