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During Spring, people are decorating with flowers, bunnies, and eggs. Kids are planning for what the Easter Bunny might hide for them. On the Internet, Easter Eggs are also common, although they are a bit different. The Internet is full of Easter Eggs!
In computer software, the term Easter Egg refers to fun hidden things that include jokes, messages, or even secret features. I used to come across these features in dull places like computer log files. It was always a bit of a chuckle to find phrases like “Elvis has left the building” when the program closed, or the hidden flight simulator game in the older version of Microsoft Excel. Easter Eggs are continually changing, and they constantly disappear while new ones are created.
Google is currently well known for having Easter Eggs, including ones that are only active on certain days like April Fools, special events, or holidays. The Easter Eggs should work in pretty much any modern browser. The easiest way to view them is to first open a web browser, like Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox.
Next, click in the address bar of the browser and type www.google.com and then press enter. Once the Google homepage is loaded, you are ready to test out some of my favorite Easter Eggs that are currently active.
The first one is an homage to an old Nintendo video game named Star Fox. Type “do a barrel roll” (but without the quotation marks) in the Google search box and press enter. The Google screen will spin around before displaying the search results for you.
If you are a fan of anagrams, clear out the Google search box and put the word anagram there instead. Google will ask if you meant something else.
Another fun word to search for is either “tilt” or “askew.” Look closely at your monitor. No, you don’t need to get your eyes checked, Google really is doing what you asked it to do. Another one to try along this line is the word “recursion.”
If you are feeling nostalgic, change your search to “Google in 1998,” and your Google search page will look like it did in 1998. Is anybody feeling lucky?
Speaking of feeling lucky, go back to the normal, modern, www.google.com web site and clear out the search box completely. Then point your mouse at the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. How are you feeling? Try clicking it.
There are a couple of games that you can play. The first one is the old snake game. Type “snake game” in the Google search box and you will be rewarded with a link called “Click to Play.”
Finally, if you want to play a quick game of Atari Breakout, you can do that in Google too. This time go to images.google.com and search for “Atari Breakout.” Give it a second and your screen will turn into the classic breakout game, using the images in the search as the bricks.
I hope you have fun trying these Easter Eggs. There are many others on the web, and on your computer. Some hidden Easter Eggs require the Konami Code (Up, Up, Down, Down, Left Right, Left Right, B, A) to activate them. Happy hunting!
- Michael Martinell, The Broadband Guy