They’re built into practically every Google product — if you look hard enough, you’ll find that entering the right search term or typing a code can make Google collapse, spin or create fictional characters. Here are 15 easter eggs (hidden, entertaining things developers build into a website or program) for you to discover the next time you’re Googling.
1. Walking to Mordor: mordor If you’ve ever watched The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (or just seen various versions of the meme) you may never stop laughing at this Google Maps quirk (or maybe it’s just me). If you try to get walking directions from “The Shire” or “Rivendell” to “Mordor” (just type in the words and ignore all the auto-complete suggestions that pop up), Google will give you the route… and a warning. In other news, according to my Google Maps, Mordor is located just outside Cape Town, South Africa. Nice.
2. Barrel roll: barrel roll
Endlessly entertaining, this one trended worldwide on Twitter in November. Simply search “do a barrel roll” — if you have Google’s instant results functions enabled, your results page will be spinning before you’ve completed the instruction.
What is 42, you ask? Geez, it’s only the answer to life, the universe and everything. Ok, so if you’ve never read or watched The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you won’t get this one. But Google’s built-in calculator will.
4. Gravity: gravity If, by any chance, you feeling like searching “Google gravity” and hitting “I’m feeling lucky”, don’t be surprised if Google comes crashing down around you the second you move the mouse. (Hint: you can disable Google’s instant results in your account preferences page to make sure you get the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ option).
5. Recursion: recursion Google pokes fun at its own “did you mean” suggestions if you search recursion (repetition or returning) by questioning your spelling even though you didn’t make a mistake.
6. Klingon: klingon So “GoogleDaq ylnej” means “Google search”. Hmmm. Who knew? Well, you, if you speak Klingon. Yes, there is a Klingon version of Google. There is also a pirate and Elmer Fudd version, if that’s more your thing.
7. Kerning: kerning Designers will love this one — kerning is the spacing between letters in a word. When you do a search for kerning, Google changes the spaces between letters in the word ‘kerning’ in all the results. Heehee. You see what they did there?
8. Hello, Nessy: lochness monster
Picture this: You’re working under a tight deadline, your clock is slowly counting the minutes past 3AM and your coffee and Red Bull combo is failing. The sleep deprivation is starting to affect you — you are starting to see things. You click to your home page, and there, rising gracefully from the dark waves in your iGoogle theme, is the Lochness Monster.
No, you’re not hallucinating — you really did see Nessy. If you are ever awake and online at 3:14 AM (those are the first three digits in Pi, by the way), and have the iGoogle beach theme installed, Nessy will come to visit for a minute. If you’re not an insomniac, you can always just change the timezone on your computer and in your iGoogle settings and just wait until 14 minutes past the hour (I was in Bangkok last night, as far as Google knows). Unfortunately, it looks like the monster will be no more after iGoogle is retired in November 2013.
9. Nagging Rams: anagram Similar to the