Aside from the tasty chocolate candy many of us enjoy eating in the springtime, ‘Easter eggs’ have an entirely different meaning when they come from Google.
An Easter Egg is an unexpected feature in games, movies — and in this case, Google Search or another of its products.
These secret goodies are usually discovered through word of mouth or entirely by accident.
In this column, you’ll learn how to activate a ton of different Google Easter Eggs. See how many you already knew, and have fun activating those that are new to you.
But first, where did this fun tradition of hiding tricks and games in code begin?
Long Before Google’s Easter Eggs Came Atari
Steve Wright, former Director of Software Development at Atari, has been credited with coining the term “Easter egg” for this particular use.
He did this after disgruntled employee Warren Robinett snuck his name into a game he programmed but didn’t get credited for.
A delighted player discovered this secret communication tucked away in a hidden chamber of the game and wrote in to express how much they had enjoyed finding it.
Initially, the higher-ups at Atari were furious and considered reworking the game, but Wright was able to convince them otherwise.
He suggested turning this boo-boo into a boon by making it company policy to include concealed features in future games.
After all, what kid wouldn’t love hunting out these little ‘Easter eggs’?
He was proven correct, but no one could have predicted just how much of a cultural phenomenon Easter eggs would become.
Today concealed links, messages and features can be found anywhere and everywhere – including Google Search.
Special thanks to Abby Villarica, editorial assistant here at Search Engine Journal, for helping to test these out and capture the Easter Egg videos below.
Grab a beverage, get comfortable, and check out these Google Easter Eggs. See which ones are new to you!
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [anagram] or [define anagram] into Google.
What happens: Google displays, Did you mean: Nag A Ram.
2. Super Mario Bros
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [super mario brothers] into Google.
What happens: Google Easter Eggs can really bring the nostalgia.
Case in point: searching [super mario brothers] triggers the appearance of a glittering coin block in the knowledge panel. Click it to get your 200 points and be rewarded with that delightful Super Mario Bros coin sound.
It seems you can click this infinitely… I kept going until I heard a One-Up sound, then clicked some more. Eventually, the dogs barking at my desk made me quit.
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [askew] into Google.
What happens: The Google SERP slightly tilts; it goes askew.
4. Bletchley Park Secret Code
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [bletchley park] into Google.
What happens: The local panel at right gives a nod to World War II codebreakers in the name of this historical landmark.
5. The Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [the answer to life the universe and everything] into Google.
What happens: In science fiction novelist Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, the supercomputer states that 42 is the answer to everything. Some really smart people have put an awful lot of time into figuring out just what Adams meant.
6. Breathing Exercise
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [breathing exercise] into Google.
What happens: Take a minute (literally) and reset with a quick mindful breathing exercise at the top of the SERP.
7. War in Ba Sing Se
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [War in Ba Sing Se] into Google.
What happens: Here’s one from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Query [war in ba sing se] and Google will try to correct you. “Did you mean: THERE IS NO War in Ba Sing Se” links to search results for that phrase.
8. Cha-cha Slide
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [cha-cha slide] into Google.
What happens: Simply the best thing ever, that’s what happens. Check it out, click the icons to keep it going, and make sure your sound is on.
9. A Love Letter to Pluto
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [pluto] into Google.
What happens: This may not technically be an Easter Egg as it’s not gamified in any way, but it’s a fun little bit of someone’s personality in the otherwise informational search results space.
If you’re Gen X or a crossover Xennial like me, you might remember when Pluto was downgraded from planetary status and we were forced to question everything we ever learned in elementary school.
Google pays homage to “our favorite” dwarf planet in the knowledge panel in this fun Easter Egg.
10. Conway’s Game of Life
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [Conway’s Game of Life] into Google.
What happens: Look to the right and you will see an animation that demonstrates how the population multiplies and how all life began.
Bonus Easter Egg: Conway’s Game of Life also auto-populates in Google Docs using [Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E] [Ctrl+Alt+Shift+C] on Windows, or [⌘+Option+Shift+E] [⌘+Option+Shift+C] on Mac.
11. Dinosaur Game (Chrome only)
How to trigger this Easter Egg: This will trigger if you open your Chrome browser and you have zero internet connection available.
What happens: A dinosaur runs across your screen above tips to help repair your internet connection. Use your space bar to make him jump over the bumps in the road.
12. Text Adventure or Interactive Fiction
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [text adventure] or [interactive fiction] into Google.
What happens: Text adventures use text commands to move your player around and achieve objectives throughout the game. This Easter Egg appears in the Developers Console, which you can access by:
- Typing [text adventure] in Google Search.
- Right-clicking and choosing Inspect.
- Navigating to Console in the Inspect window.
Once there, you’re asked, “Would you like to play a game? (yes/no).” Click yes and you’re off and running on your text-based adventure.
13. Do a Barrel Roll
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [do a barrel roll] into Google.
What happens: Google follows your order and the entire SERP does a barrel roll.
14. The Funniest Joke in the World
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!] into Google Translate.
What happens: The funniest joke in the world or the killer joke comes from Monty Python, and as legend has it, anyone who hears the joke will promptly die of laughter.
Searching this in Google Translate brings back [FATAL ERROR] in English.
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [festivus] into Google.
What happens: It’s a holiday for the rest of us! George’s father Frank’s obsession with the alternative to Christmas was a running gag on the TV show “Seinfeld”.
With this Easter Egg, the occasion makes its way to the SERPs with a Festivus Pole spanning the page, top to bottom, on the left.
16. Fidget Spinner
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [fidget spinner] into Google.
What happens: The trendy toy appears at the top of the search results page where you can click or use your mouse to hold and spin.
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [spinner] into Google.
What happens: A numbered spinner appears at the top of the search results page (you can toggle between this and the fidget spinner). Click to play, and adjust the size of the wheel in the top left of the game.
18. Once in a Blue Moon
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [once in a blue moon] (all lowercase) into Google.
What happens: When you search “once in a Blue Moon”, Google guides you to the mathematical equation for the occurrence of a blue moon.
The calculator shows the result of “once in a blue moon = 1.16699016 × 10-8 hertz.”
19. Green Hill Zone
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [green hill zone] into Google.
What happens: In yet another throwback to the glorious 90s, this Google Easter Egg features Sonic the Hedgehog. His game came out on Sega Genesis in 1991, introducing us all to the Green Hill Zone — the first level.
Searching [green hill zone] makes Sonic appear in the knowledge panel where you can click to make him roll. Stop clicking and he’ll roll his eyes and tap his foot at you. Click him enough and he’ll level up to Super Sonic.
20. Flip a coin
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [flip a coin] into Google.
What happens: A coin-flipping game appears at the top of the search results page, where you can click to keep flipping.
21. Fun Facts
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [fun facts] into Google.
What happens: When you type it in, a random fact will appear in the top panel of the results. You can continue down the wormhole by clicking “Ask Another Question.”
22. I’m Feeling Curious
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [im feeling curious] into Google.
What happens: Much in the same way as the “Fun Facts” Easter Egg above, Google randomly displays factoids you can flip through to satisfy your curiosity (and boredom, let’s be honest).
23. Google in 1998
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [Google in 1998] into Google Search.
What happens: Check it out… this was your Google Search experience in 1998! Clicking a result will take you into the Wayback Machine. I’m digging the logo.
Click “Take me back to the present” to restore regular, everyday Google.
24. Google Logo History
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [Google logo history] into Google.
What happens: Travel back in time through a series of seven Google logos dating all the way back to 1998 in this animated rich snippet.
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [kerning] into Google.
What happens: Each instance of the word “kerning” on the Google results page has letters spaced evenly apart to demonstrate the meaning of the word.
26. Marquee HTML
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [marquee HTML] or [marquee tag] into Google.
What happens: The text showing the number of results will scroll from right to left like a real marquee.
27. Blink HTML
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [blink HTML] into Google.
What happens: All instances of “Blink” and “HTML” in the SERPs blink as long as you’re on-page.
28. Pirate, Hacker or Bork Bork Language
How to trigger these Easter Eggs: Change the language settings (Settings > Search Settings > Languages > Show More) to get the Google Search experience in Pirate, Hacker, or Bork Bork.
What happens: Hacker language or Leet Speak (1337 5p34k) replaces the normal letters of the alphabet with different ASCII characters.
You might remember Bork! Bork! as a common refrain of The Swedish Chef on “The Muppets”. Note the menu options for “Imeges” and “Shoeppeeng” — bet you just read that in Chef’s voice!
Pirate speak is self-explanatory, Matey:
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [metronome] into Google.
What happens: A metronome appears, enabling you to keep a beat from 40 to 218 BPM at the top of the search results.
30. PAC-MAN Google Doodle
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [pac-man] into Google.
What happens: The classic PAC-MAN appears in a featured snippet. On clicking play, it opens as an interactive Google Doodle you can play using your arrow keys.
Careful… it’s loud! We left the sound off our video in case you’re supposed to be working, but if you play online you’ll get the full experience.
31. Play Snake
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [play snake] into Google.
What happens: A snake game appears at the top of the search results page. Click Play and it expands; use your arrow keys to get the apples without smashing into the walls.
32. Random Number Generator
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [random number generator] into Google.
What happens: Google’s random number generator tool appears at the top of the search results. By default, it’ll generate a number between 1 and 10 but you can adjust the range to suit your needs.
Don’t get carried away, though. Tack on too many zeros and you’ll kill the poor emoji man.
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [recursion] into Google.
What happens: This one is cute. In programming, recursion is defined as “the process of defining a problem (or the solution to a problem) in terms of (a simpler version of) itself. For example, we can define the operation ‘find your way home’ as: If you are at home, stop moving.”
Searching [recursion] on Google displays, Did you mean: recursion? Clicking it reloads the same set of results.
34. Roll a Die
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [roll a die] or [roll dice] into Google.
What happens: An interactive featured snippet appears at the top of the search results. Choose 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or even 20-sided die and click to add more to the game. Click Roll to shake them up; your total is displayed in the box.
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [solitaire] into Google.
What happens: A preview of Google’s Solitaire game appears at the top of the search results. Click Play to pop the game open overlaying the SERPs and choose your level of difficulty: Easy or Hard.
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [dreidel] into Google.
What happens: A spinning dreidel appears at the top of the search results page in an interactive display you can keep playing.
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [tic-tac-toe] into Google.
What happens: Here’s another
time-suck fun, hidden game in Google Search. Tic-Tac-toe allows you to play against the machine or a friend (on the same device), and choose Easy, Medium, or Impossible levels of play.
38. Webdriver Torso
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [webdriver torso] into Google.
What happens: In 2013, a YouTube channel popped up and published thousands of 11-second videos consisting of red and blue rectangles with beeping noises. Mystified, the internet did its magic and conjured up everything from aliens to foreign spies in explanation for the channel.
By the time Google finally revealed it was a testing channel, the legend of Webdriver Torso had taken on a life of its own. Even the BBC reported on it. Today, activate this Google Easter Egg and you’ll see an animated series of the iconic colored shapes to the left of the search box (on desktop).
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [timer] into Google.
What happens: Trying to cook the perfect egg? Maybe you’re doing a writing sprint to get that blog post out the door. Either way, querying [timer] brings Google’s handy timer tool to the top of the SERPs.
40. What Sound Does That Animal Make?
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [what sound does a dog make] (without a question mark) into Google.
What happens: An interactive panel of animal cards appears at the top of the search results page. Scroll through and click on the dog, penguin, bat, tiger, or other creature to hear the sound it makes. The downward-facing arrow on the panel opens more Google games, toys, and tools (many of which are featured in this article).
Clicking “More Sounds” opens a panel with over 50 animals you can hear on the SERP.
41. Wubba Lubba Dub Dub
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [wubba lubba dub dub] into Google.
What happens: “Rick and Morty” fans will love this one. Searching this seemingly nonsensical query causes Google to question, “Did you mean: i am in great pain please help me,” from Birdman’s explanation of the term.
42. 3D Easter Egg
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Click here
What happens: This most meta of Google Easter Eggs activates… an actual Easter egg. Searching the formula [1.2+(sqrt(1-(sqrt(x^2+y^2))^2) + 1 – x^2-y^2) * (sin (10000 * (x*3+y/5+7))+1/4) from -1.6 to 1.6] displays a 3D animated Easter egg. Use your mouse or touchpad to zoom in and out.
43. Server Status 418: I’m a Teapot
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Click here.
What happens: The teapot page is a 418 response code. Mozilla explains:
“The HTTP 418 I’m a teapot client error response code indicates that the server refuses to brew coffee because it is, permanently, a teapot. A combined coffee/tea pot that is temporarily out of coffee should instead return 503. This error is a reference to Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol defined in April Fools’ jokes in 1998 and 2014.”
44. The Number of Horns on a Unicorn
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [the number of horns on a unicorn] into Google.
What happens: Similar to the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” joke, look for “the number of horns on a unicorn” and the search engine will show you the calculator with the answer “1.”
45. Bubble Level (mobile only)
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [bubble level] into Google on your smartphone.
What happens: Simply search for “bubble level” on your smartphone and you will instantly have an interactive leveler on your mobile phone.
46. Loneliest Number
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [loneliest number] (all lowercase) into Google.
What happens: Look for the “loneliest number” in the search box and the Google calculator will show you the answer “1”.
47. Bacon Number
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [bacon number] + any famous person’s name into Google.
What happens: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a game that shows we’re all connected somehow — and it all leads back to the famous actor. Where a result is triggered, a featured snippet appears at the top of the SERP explaining the person’s Bacon number and linking to the source of that information.
48. Spelling Out Numbers
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [any number=english] in Google Search.
What happens: Google helpfully spells out the number for you.
Note: The maximum volume of numbers is 13. You cannot go higher; believe me, I tried.
49. Play Minesweeper
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Search [minesweeper] on Google.
What happens: A preview appears at the top of the SERPs. Clicking on it opens a minesweeper game (with far lower quality graphics, I have to say)
50. Valentine’s Day Easter Egg
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Click here to search [sqrt(cos(x))*cos(300x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5] on Google.
What happens: Similar to the 3D egg, inputting a mathematical formula triggers a graph. Like the 3D egg, this does not appear on a search results page but on its own.
51. Earth Day Quiz
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [earth day quiz] on Google.
What happens: Work through the illustrated multiple-choice questions in this fun, simple Google game to find out which animal you are (I’m a mantis shrimp, for those dying to know).
52. Friends + Character
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [friends + ross, phoebe, monica, etc.] on Google.
What happens: Look to the knowledge panel for each Friends character. There’s a different icon for each that triggers an action unique to that character. Clicking on the sponge on Monica’s knowledge panel, for example, animates the sponge which scrubs up the listing (a nod to Monica’s compulsive housecleaning).
Clicking the guitar on the Phoebe panel turns the SERPs into a backdrop for a cat leaping and strutting across the screen to Phoebe’s iconic song “Smelly Cat.”
53. PRIDE In Google Sheets
How to trigger this Easter Egg: In Google Sheets, type “PRIDE” with each letter in a separate spreadsheet column.
What happens: Trigger rainbow columns and pay homage to LGTBQ2S rights by putting P-R-I-D-E as your headers.
How to trigger this Easter Egg: Type [pi] on Google Search.
What happens: A calculator appears with the value of Pi.
Retired Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs such as Zerg Rush, Atari Breakout, Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet don’t seem to work on Google Search anymore — at least, not consistently enough for me to make them happen.
Some can still be found in various archives (using Google, of course).
Who Hides Easter Eggs Besides Google?
Disney frequently inserts characters or iconic items into their movies for eagle-eyed viewers to spot.
Two such examples of this are the Genie in Aladdin pulling The Little Mermaid’s Sebastian from a cookery book and Rapunzel from Tangled attending Elsa’s coronation in Frozen.
Stephen Spielberg’s recent offering “Ready Player One” crammed in the Easter eggs referencing everything from “Back to the Future” to “Star Wars” and even giving the nod to the Atari game Adventure that popularized the whole concept in the first place.
That’s not to say that Robinett was the first person to include secret eggs in his media.
Programmers who worked on The Fairchild Channel F console, which predated the game by four years, added their names in the demo game, and film legend Alfred Hitchcock was known to make brief cameos in his own movies.
The list goes on…
What’s clear is giving people the opportunity to turn up interesting things in unexpected places adds another dimension to an already enjoyable activity or can help perk up someone’s day.
And I don’t know about you, but my days could sure use some perking up with Easter Egg goodness lately.
Diehard gamers and TV junkies especially take great delight in uncovering these eggs, often spending hours, weeks, months doing so.
However, while some hidden items in software and games should perhaps be left to the more technically minded, or just those with a little more time on their hands, there are quick and easy eggs to be spotted all around.
Have You Spotted a New Google Easter Egg?
Or have we missed any? Share your favorite or any new Google Easter Eggs in the comments and you may see it added to this article!
Image credits: All screenshots and video by authors, April 2021