Oh, those whimsical Google nerds. The Mountain View-based search giant may not have Apple’s design chops, but it certainly knows how to code a good joke.
We got a taste of that fact on Thursday with the highly popular “Do a Barrel Roll” search trick, which went viral on Twitter and brightened a million work days. But that’s only the latest in a long line of quirky features Google has embedded in its products. We’re not talking about useful stuff like the in-search calculator, or Google’s much-documented April Fool’s jokes. These are all fun built-in tricks you can amuse yourself with right now.
1. Gravity. Enter “Google Gravity” in the search bar. Hit “I’m feeling lucky” (if you have Google Instant enabled, it’s on the right hand side of the suggested searches). Then watch your world fall down.
2. Askew. Simply search for the word “askew.” We dare you not to tilt your head.
3. Chuck Norris. Search for the Walker Texas Ranger star, hit I’m Feeling Lucky, and Google will school you in Norrisology.
4. ASCII. Searching for ASCII art — the kind built out of characters — is about the nerdiest thing you can do. Google salutes you with a special logo.
5. Recursion. Here’s one for word nerds and philosophy majors. Search for “recursion” and Google asks “did you mean recursion?”
6. Mentalplex. This one started life as an April Fool’s joke, but is still around at google.com/mentalplex. Baffle your less Internet-savvy family and friends!
7. Pacman. The Google doodle that launched a thousand lost hours of productivity will live forever at google.com/pacman.
8. Ninja! Here’s where Google easter eggs start to get a little more complex. Go to Google Reader, then use your cursor keys thus: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A. A ninja then pops onto your screen and into your search box. Thankfully, this still works in the new version of Google Reader.
9. Nessie. Set your iGoogle homepage to the beach theme. Wait until 3:14am (or if you can’t, just move your clock forward). What monster this way comes? Could we be on the shores of Loch Ness?
10. Flight simulator. This one began life as an easter egg, and became so well-loved that Google incorporated it as a feature in Google Earth. Click on Tools > Enter Flight Simulator, and you’re off and flying around the planet. Bon voyage!