Google loves hiding secrets in their services and products. The company has had 15 years to fill the internet with memes, references to pop culture, and humorous oddities. To coincide with Google’s birthday, I’ve compiled a list of the ten best Easter Eggs, and how you can access them. This list extends to many Google services and software, including Search, YouTube, Android, Maps, and more.
Search Easter Egg: Zerg Rush
If you’ve ever played the Blizzard game Starcraft you might be aware of the Zerg, an alien hive mind race that attacks in ravenous swarms. One of the main strategies is the Zerg Rush, with prioritizes releasing an army of cheap units to overwhelm the enemy with sheer numbers. Typing in Zerg Rush into Google web search recreates this tactic.
“O’s” will descend on the search results and destroy each link. Each O can be destroyed by clicking on it three times, but the amount on screen makes it a hard job. Upon destroying all link the O’s form into a large “GG”, a common Starcraft term for “good game”.
Translate Easter Egg: Beatbox
Google Translate is a means of understanding other languages, but what about the universal language of music? Alright, beatboxing might not be a traditional, but it’s a really neat way of turning your voice into a percussion instrument. Entering certain phrases into the Google translate dialog box will turn the normal “Listen” icon into “Beatbox” mode. You have to include several lines to turn on this feature, though it’s hard to find the actual minimum. The following are some of the text sounds that roughly translate to Beatbox rudiments.
pv = brushing
bk = bass
vk = roll tap
zk = symbol
krp = hig hat
pv = short roll
ds = rimshot
bsch = snare
tk, kt = flam
YouTube Easter Egg: VHS button
For the 57th anniversary of the VHS, YouTube added a “Tape Mode” button. This gave videos a degraded, VHS look, complete with a blurry pause and lots of visual noise. While the button is off by default, it can be accessed by including “&vhs=1” at the end of any YouTube link.
Android Easter Egg: Secret images
Since Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), Android has included secret images that can be accessed in the “About phone” menu. Enter “Settings”, “About phone” and quickly tap “Android version”. With enough speed a secret graphic will appear based on the OS.
- 2.3 (Gingerbread) – an Android Robot in a zombie apocalypse.
- 3.0 (Honeycomb) – an Android Bee.
- 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) – Android Robots flying like Nyan Cat.
- 4.1 and 4.2 (Jelly Bean) – Lots of jelly beans fill the screen and can be flung with swipes.
- 4.3 (Jelly Bean) – Similar to the above, but it starts with a single large jelly bean that generates more beans when tapped.
Images Easter Egg: Atari Breakout
Doing an image search for “Atari Breakout” will turn the search results into a colorful grid similar to the game Breakout. A paddle can be controlled with the mouse to bounce a ball and destroy the images. When a level is completed, a new random image search will be done and the corresponding images will be used for that level.
Multiple Services Easter Egg: Klingon, Pirate, and other languages
Google services are available in common languages such as English, Spanish, and German. What might surprise you is that in some of these services, such as search, you can expand the list to include more uncommon languages. Most of these are real languages, but among them are also settings to languages to Pirate, Kilingon, Elmur Fudd, Hacker, and more. These extra humorous ones typically only change the initial main page, while leaving more important sections in American English.
Maps Easter Egg: Google Staff in Street View across the world
Google has multiple headquarters around the world, and there are plenty of employees who enjoy their work. By searching some of these locations, you can view see groups of Google staff on Street View!
This includes Barrow St. in Dublin, Ireland and 1600-1632 Charleston Road Mountain View, CA, USA. It also used to include the Wroclaw, Poland office, but this seems to have been removed.
Maps Easter Egg: Half Moon Island Antarctica
If you switch to classic maps view (or never upgraded in the first place), you can explore the entirety of Half Moon Island. Drag the man icon onto the island and he will transform into a penguin. You will be able to “Street View” the island, just like a road. As mentioned before this Easter Egg doesn’t function in the updated version of Maps.
Maps Easter Egg: Other Maps secrets
There are many assorted secrets within Google Maps, mostly scattered around random locations. Searching 44 14’39.77″N 7°46’10.71″E and zooming in will show a large rabbit. Searching 47.110579, 9.227568 and entering street view will give you a glimpse of heaven in the clouds.
You can also get a peek into the Tardis from Doctor Who by searching for “Police Telephone Box London”.
Logo Easter Egg: Two player Pac-Man
Google celebrated Pac-Man’s birthday by changing the search homepage logo into a working version of Pac-Man. By hitting “Insert Coin” two times Ms. Pac-Man appears, allowing two players simultaneously. While the game has been removed from the homepage, it can still be accessed through Google Doodles which display past logos.
Google loves Easter Eggs and these are just a few of the crazy ones still around. Unfortunately, they’ve removed some other cool ones, such as playing Snake in YouTube videos. We’re looking forward to the new Easter Eggs Google hides in KitKat, Google Glass, and other future products.
Have you found other amazing Google Easter Eggs?