When you’re in a hurry to find something out, you head straight to Google to search for it, and so does the vast majority of the population. Google thus becomes a service; you don’t stop to wonder what the site itself can actually do, which is a shame, because there are lots of fun little Easter eggs and things you can discover if you just spend a little extra time with the iconic white box. Here are 20 fun things that you can do on Google right now!
Okay, so we’re starting off with something that’s perhaps a little obvious and recursive, but the first fun thing you can do is simply to Google “Google”. All of those snarky jokesters in the 90s said that doing so would explode the universe, like dividing by zero, but the fact is that you simply get a list of Google’s products, services, and key personnel. Hey, who doesn’t want to know more about the world’s most famous company?
Google “do a barrel roll”
If you’re familiar with the iconic Star Fox series of video games, you’ll know that “do a barrel roll” is one of gaming’s most pervasive and consistent memes. Try typing it into Google and your whole browser window will follow your instructions, doing a barrel roll before your very eyes. All this means is that the search page spins in a full circle, but it’s still a pretty fun extra nonetheless.
Speaking of iconic games…Typing “play Pac-Man” or just “Pac-Man” into Google will give you the chance to play a version of one of the world’s most famous arcade games. You can do it from right within the search window, too; it won’t take you to a different page, so you can enjoy whiling away far more time than you should enjoying this simple but addictive piece of software.
Find out the answer to, well, everything
Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of the defining pieces of sci-fi literature, and comedy fans and science fiction geeks everywhere unite over their love for it. Google has a little built-in tribute to Adams and his work, too. If you Google “the answer to life, the universe, and everything”, then Google will return the answer “42” in tribute to Adams’ Deep Thought computer.
Read up on Googlewhacks
The Googlewhack can be described as one of the earliest cryptozoological phenomena of Google. In essence, a Googlewhack is a single two-word term, with no quotation marks around it (which Google still uses to parse a complete phrase rather than fragments), which returns exactly one search result. They’re not possible to find now thanks to the way Google interprets links, but for a while, the hunt was fun.
Travel back in time
Were you born too late to know what Google looked like in the 1990s? Just type “Google in 1998” into the search engine and you’ll instantly be shown a facsimile of what Google looked like during that storied year. If you ever want to know just how far Google has come since those times, take a look at this page, which looks positively ancient by modern standards. It’s impressive.
This is a fun little Easter egg. If you Google the word “anagram”, then you’ll see Google ask you if you meant “nag a ram” near the top of the page. Of course, “nag a ram” is itself an anagram of anagram, so that’s Google just having a little fun. Clicking “nag a ram” sadly doesn’t return a question asking whether you meant “anagram”, but it’s still a neat extra, in any case.
Roll some bones
Are you playing a tabletop roleplaying game with your friends and need to roll some dice? Just want to see the little 3D die spin? Type in “roll a die” into Google, or “roll dice”, and you’ll see a window which asks you what kind of dice you want to roll. The window will also let you add a modifier to your roll, which is ideal for games like Dungeons and Dragons, where skills will add extra numbers to results.
Flip a coin
Just like Google offers the ability to roll dice, you can also use it to flip a coin, which is a far more binary procedure. Simply type “flip a coin” into Google and you’ll be shown a window with a 3D coin. Flip it and you’ll get a heads or tails result. Fun fact: the “gambler’s fallacy” refers to the misconception that flipping a large number of heads results in a row should mean you get tails next, which is patently untrue.
Go to Mars
You know about Google Earth, right? It’s an app that lets you explore the entirety of the Earth, spinning it around and zooming in on different locations to “visit” them. Well, Google Mars is that, but for Mars. It’s hard not to feel a sense of overwhelming wonder as you look at the heat map provided by the app and realise that this is actually Mars and that you’re actually looking at it.
Play with some dinosaurs
If you’ve ever experienced some kind of internet outage at your workplace or at home, then you’ll probably know how frustrating it can be. However, Google’s got you covered, especially if you’re using the Chrome browser. Being disconnected from the internet allows you access to the dinosaur game, which is a simple sidescrolling auto-runner in which you must dodge objects to obtain a high score.
Set a timer
Need to brew some tea or time yourself for an exam? You can use Google to set yourself a timer. Simply Google – you guessed it – “set a timer for X minutes”, and Google will do just that for you. If you need to get more specific, you can even tell Google how many seconds you want the timer to be set for. Any measurement of time will give you an appropriate timer, so use Google next time you need one!
Googling the word “recursion” will result in a fun little Easter egg. If you’re not aware, if something is recursive, then it repeats upon itself. Googling “recursion” leads to Google asking you if you meant “recursion”, then clicking that link will ask you once again if you meant “recursion”, ad infinitum. It’s a fun extra that’s similar in a lot of ways to the anagram trick, showing again that someone at Google has a fondness for word jokes.
Don’t blink, don’t even blink
Blink once and you’re dead. Well, not quite. If you search “Blink HTML” in Google, you’ll get a normal list of results telling you how to make text blink in HTML, except something’s not quite right. Look more closely and you’ll notice that some of the text on the page is slowly blinking. Thankfully, it’s not too distracting, but it can feel like something strange is going on in your head.
Try searching for “number of horns on a unicorn”. The wording here is quite specific; you can’t search for “number of horns a unicorn has”, for instance, as you won’t get the same result. The former, however, will return a “calculation” showing that unicorns do indeed have just a single horn. Of course, you knew that already, right? Try also searching for “the loneliest number”, and in the true spirit of the song, you’ll get something back.
This one is more of a Google Translate tip than something for Google as a whole, but did you know that Google Translate can interpret handwriting? It’s true – head over to Google Translate and enable the “handwriting” toggle, then write something in the box and watch as Google attempts to understand what you’ve written. As you’d expect, it’s pretty accurate most of the time!
Complete mathematical equations
Google is surprisingly intelligent when it comes to solving mathematical equations, which might make you just that little bit worried about the Skynet scenario. Try putting in a geometric problem, for instance, or a basic mathematical equation, and watch as Google solves it for you. This makes Google a pretty invaluable revision tool if you’re studying for an exam!
You don’t need to go to a special website if you’re looking to convert currency. Google can do it right from the search page, and what’s more, it uses up-to-the-minute currency conversion rates, so you don’t need to worry about being behind the times. You can convert pretty much any currency into pretty much any other currency, with the exception of crypto.
Help you pronounce numbers
When you’ve got a number that’s made up of an extremely long string of digits, it can be hard to know exactly how you’re supposed to say that number. If you type it into Google, however, followed by “=english”, then the search engine will tell you exactly how you’re supposed to say that number. This is very useful for finding out how much celebrities make and accidentally making yourself feel sad.
Find out someone’s “Bacon number”
Do you know what a “Bacon number” is? The game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” holds the answer. The idea is that nobody is more than six moves away from Kevin Bacon; someone stars in a movie with someone else, who starred in one with Kevin Bacon. You can use Google to find out a star’s Bacon number; just search for the person’s name, followed by Bacon number, and you’ll get an answer!