Google doesn’t shy away from a joke, and always make an appearance on April Fool’s Day. If you know where to look you will discover treats the company has hidden around the web. They have left many throughout the years, but only a few have stuck around.
Google Search and Maps
Google has the answers to any question you could possibly have, but sometimes the search engine itself likes to have a little fun.
Barrel roll: If you ask Google to “do a barrel roll” your screen will do a 365 degree turn.
Bacon number: Kevin Bacon has done so much work in Hollywood that any actor can be connected to him in five steps or less through their work. Going through all the work every actor has done can be tedious, which is why Google took care of it for you. When you type in a celebrity’s name followed by “bacon number” you will see how connected that person is to the Footloose star.
Blink search: Cheeky searches don’t end there. Search for “blink html” and the results will blink at you.
Atari: This is the perfect way to play a game at work while pretending you’re just looking for an image. Google image search “Atari breakout” and find yourself in the middle of a game.
Zerg Rush: Starcraft players know and fear the tactic of spamming a bunch of tiny aliens to overwhelm opponents. Search for “Zerg rush” and you can practice the strategy game by clicking on tiny invading Os from the Google logo. The mini-game even counts your actions per minute, and flashes you a sporting “GG” at the end.
Pac-Man: For the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man in 2010, Google converted its iconic Doodle into a fully functional version of the arcade game, instantly causing billions of dollars in productivity loss all over the planet. The game is still live and playable at this address, or just search for “Google Pacman.”
Flipping coins and shooting dice: Search for “flip a coin” and Google will give you a randomized heads-or-tails answer. Do the same with “roll a die” and you’ll get one through six. Unfortunately for Dungeons and Dragons fans, there’s no D20 option.
Super Mario Money: Search for “super mario bros” in Google Search, and you’ll get the usual list of relevant links. But if you look to the left on the page, you’ll see one of the series’ iconic question mark bricks. Click it to get a special surprise (and maybe mute your speakers if you’re at work, since you’ll want to click it again and again).
The Game of Life: Unfortunately you can’t play Milton Bradley’s board game in Google Search, but a a query of “Conway’s game of life” will return a basic version of the mathematician’s famous computer simulation in the upper right corner. If you let it grow long enough it will fill up a large portion of the screen.
Tic-tac-toe: Okay, so maybe the old game isn’t exactly cutting edge anymore, but if you need to kill some time with two people, Google will give you a free board for Tic-Tac-Toe, complete with multiplayer and single-player options. Now you don’t need to find a scratch piece of paper.
Solitaire: If you’d like to kill some time and you’re minus one pack of cards, Google has the classic single-player card game built in with easy and hard modes. Just search “Solitaire.”
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: If you query Google about the “answer to life, the universe and everything” you’ll find the answer as defined by author Douglas Adams at the end of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series: “42.” Someone at Google is apparently a huge Hitchhiker’s Guide fan because they also added a joke to the back of the Chromecast. In small print it says “H2G2-42,” which makes a reference to the title and the answer to the meaning of life.
Retro Google: Take a step into a time capsule and see what Google looked like in 1998. Search for “Google in 1998,” and you can see what life was like almost 2o years ago.
Recursion: For those who don’t know, recursion is the process of repeating things in a pattern. Search for recursion and Google will ask you if you meant to say “recursion.” Get it?
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel: Google’s dreidel might not be made out of clay, but it works well enough for a quick festive game. Search for “play dreidel” and click on the top to spin it.
Festivus: Jerry Seinfeld’s favorite holiday gets a shout out on the search engine when you type in Festivus. The plain aluminum pole will appear on the side.
Blue Moon: The phrase “once in a blue moon” means something only happens every once in awhile. Google figured out how often that actually is.
Nag a ram: An anagram is when you rearrange the letters in a word to create other words. When you search for the word, Google suggests you also look for “nag a ram.”
Metronome: need someone to keep a beat? Search for “metronome” to get a handy musical tool right in the search interface. It goes all the way from 40 to 208 beats per minute.
Language changes: Never to be outdone by Facebook, Google added humorous language changes. You can now search in Pirate or Swedish Chef language.
The world is big, and that means plenty of space to hide cheeky jokes.
Street View shout out: The Google staff attempts to make the love of their jobs obvious when you look at the street view of the campus in California. Zoom in and you’ll see smiling faces holding a sign that reads “We love Google street view.” Yeah, we get it.
Loch Ness: Search for “loch ness” on Google Maps, and the tiny Street View indicator (normally a little yellow peg man) will turn into a green version of everyone’s favorite cryptozoological lake monster.
Google Mars and Google Moon: Earth is getting boring, we know about it, we’ve seen it, we get it. That’s why Google created Google Mars and Google Moon. You can explore the surfaces and see where humans have landed.
Dr. Who: Not surprisingly, someone at Google is a Dr. Who fan and they left a treat for fellow Whovians. If you search for Police Telephone Booth you will be delivered to Earl’s Cross in front of a telephone booth. It looks inconspicuous until you click on the booth and are transported inside. Then you can take a walk around the Tardis.