Google – we all know it as a search engine and innovator. The company has brought us AdSense, Gmail, Google Earth, Google Maps and a lot of new ways to share documents. Pretty cool stuff. But they also seem to have a sense of humour and lot of fun with what they do, with all sorts of hidden ha-ha’s for people who find them. This list shows some of the fun stuff that Google has built for those who are lucky or tenacious enough to find them.
Elmer Fudd, have no fear, because this Easter Egg is for you. At this URL, the front page for Google’s search engine loads in Elmer Fudd-ese, for all of us who wemember that wascawy wabbit. Try a search on that page, and look at all the page menus (not the results, but all the text on the page links). The search functions all work; the site is fully active, but all the text is in Elmer Fudd style of talking, with things like “Search Wesuwts” and “Diwectowy”. Try a search and you will see – it is really funny. Apparently Google built and maintains this site; now that is commitment.
Google’s Calendar offered an alarm clock with a twist with its Wake up Kit. This was the latest technology developed by Google that extended the functionality of its calendar application right into your own home. It promised that you would never again miss the alarm clock?s warning or be late in the morning to catch the 8:15 into the city (ok, I added that part). But Google did promise that this new Wake Up feature could even sync up with your other personal calendars, like Outlook, to ensure that your schedule was accurate. How did it work? Progressively aggressive means of getting you to wake up, from SMS to a bucket of water to bed flipping, and the company even supplied a help site to learn more. Clicking the learn more link went straight to the search results page for, April Fools Day.
To provide us all with a bit of amusement on Easter, Google has developed an Easter Egg surprise of their own. The hidden page has an Easter Bunny hopping around the screen with random eggs dropping down like rain. Each egg has a letter, and by some strange coincidence, the letters are G-O-O-G-L-E – whoa! The object of this Easter game is not to find the eggs, but to catch them in your little bunny basket. Eventually you get to spell the word GOOGLE if you catch them in the proper sequence, and you win. What happens when you win? Nothing really, but the bunny does get happy and jump around the screen. You can find the game here if you want to have a peek, even thought its not Easter yet.
Some say it is legend, some say it is real, but Google gives you proof. This gag happens every day at 3:14 am (PST I believe) on the Google Beach theme (they are downloaded from the iGoogle page). At precisely that time each day, Nessie comes up to the surface for exactly one minute, looks around, then takes a deep breath and dives back under the water. But just why did the Google-pranksters choose that time for Nessie’s appearance? No one knows for sure, so to layer legend upon legend, according to programmers’ lore, Google developers did it to pay homage to pi (3.14….). Many other Google themes also have kooky Easter eggs of their own. In the Seasonal Scape the Northern Lights appear at 3:14 a.m; UFOs descend on the City Scape at the magicall hour of 3:14 am; a monster appears in Spring Scape, and in the Tea House theme, ghostlike fox spirits (well known in Japanese folklore) appear and disappear in the mist of the lake as the fox sleeps. Check out lots more here.
Showing that they have a sense of humour, and are not just another rich corporate giant, Google announced the release of Gmail Paper on April 1, 2007. This service would allow all users with Gmail accounts, where the unlimited storage typically has a LOT of mail on an account (why delete if you don’t have to?) to have their archives printed, sorted and sent to them at an address of their choice. And to avoid the millions of trees that this would need, Google advised that they would do the printing on a 96% post-consumer organic mixed soy-sputum based paper (yuchh, only click the link if you have not had lunch). Of course, this was announced on April 1st…
OK – we all know that Google is international, as are many internet service companies, and provides its services in many languages across the planet. We get that. But they have taken the extra step and gone extra-terrestrial. No kidding – there really is a Google service in Klingon, or is it Klingonese…hmm, better look that one up. Hey Google, while you’re at it, can we also find a translator for Chewbacca?
D?oh! Google Gulp Beta, with Auto-Drink: yummy – makes you smarter with half the calories. Less filling, tastes great. In case you have ever had trouble optimizing your use of the search engine, perhaps interpreting the results was slightly above your pay grade, or maybe you just need an intellectual boost, Google introduced Google Gulp to come to the rescue. They marketed the beverage as the first in “a line of “smart drinks” designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty”. Great! Oops, just kidding..
Most people know Google Earth, a pretty amazing tool in itself. But, Google has actually buried a flight simulator in the program that lets you soar around Google’s Earth in an F16 Jet Fighter or SR22 propeller plane. True. To enter the flight simulator mode, press Ctrl + Alt + A (Command/Open Apple Key + Option + A on the Mac). And to ensure safe flying (don’t want any virtual crashes), Google provides instructions for all us wanna-be pilots.
No doubt Google has its fair share of math genii; in fact, if there was a study done I am sure that Google would have as high a market share of math prodigies n staff as it does on search engine queries. So coming up with Google calculator was probably done over lunch, and just for fun, no doubt the math geeks with a sense of humour had to put the answer to the one question of life and the universe in there. But once again, they forgot to tell us the question! For fun, do a search on “answer to life the universe and everything“, and you will get the correct answer – 42. If you have not read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, then you will have no idea what this is about.
In another April Fool’s day prank, Google advertises that it will find perfect soulmate matches for all who upload profiles to their trademarked “Soulmate Search” engine. Makes sense, right? If Google can find anything on the net, surely it can find your perfect soulmate? Wrong – April Fools! If you try to use the site at all, do any searches or enter any information, all the results are displayed from the same page. Moral of the story – always beware Google message on April 1st.
There is a niche market for anything, this is a message that every business school teaches. You can cater to the masses, but don’t forget those specialty areas. Apparently Google has taken this to heart and entered the darkside, with all the accessories. Go Goth young man; I guess there all sorts of niche audiences out there, maybe with rising popularity of the vampire and creatures of the night, but whatever reason, even a good gag, Google has introduced a search site of all things dark and Gothic, catering to “dark, gothic, industrial, and alternative topics.” The site is here - enter at your own risk!
Photo sharing, it’s a big thing. And while the company has innovated in so many areas, why not photo sharing? So, Google launched Picasa, lots of people use it, but not everyone has seen the bears. The Key combination of “Ctrl-Shift-Y” will make a cute little bear with a red bow-tie appear on your screen. Another key press will bring another bear, and so on, ion this little Easter egg gag from Google (enough alteration there?).
You don’t have to type in anything, no need to lift a finger – just think about your search and Google will get it for you. Check out this page from an April Fool’s day posting in 2000. In a newly developed technology, Google MantalPlex had the ability to read your thoughts, and search without you having to type a thing. Excellent for the lazy person, bad for the thoughtless. Oh, and for anyone who tried, very embarrasing for the extremely gullible.
This is more of a “showing us their sense of humour” thing from Google. We have all seen how they dress up their logo for special occasions, such as holidays and events, and personally I have always liked that added touch. For anyone who has used Google’s Street Views in the maps program, you have seen the little cartoon guide (Pegman) that you can drag from place to place to move round the map. Well, on special days he is also dressed for the occasion, such as during the week of Christmas, Pegman becomes a snowman; at Halloween, Pegman dons a witch costume; on Valentine’s Day, Pegman stands on a heart instead of his usual green circle; and whenever Pegman sets foot on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California, he becomes a tie-dye-shirted hippie. Check it out on the next holiday.
6. Who needs a plane?
This easter egg is now gone, but was good for a laugh while active. Made some people scratch their heads too. When searching for a map for the route from NY to Paris, the result included detailed directions to the New York City pier and then swimming across the Atlantic Ocean. Seems that not too many people followd this route, so I guess it was de-listed for non-compliance.
No need to pay for internet access any more, Google brings it home for free! The TiSP service is certainly a new way of getting on line and sharing your signal over WiFi. But, i dont want to give away the secret or else everyone will want it, and that could get real messy…If you are curious, go to the front page and click on the get started now. Just make sure to wear gloves….
We all hate that junk spam mail, thank goodness that most email programs now have an automated filter that shoves it off into its own box. No need to clutter the inbox. And in Gmail, if you haven’t noticed before (if you a user), the main header bar pokes a little fun at the lunch meat we all love to hate with recipes for each time the screen is refreshed or the Spam mailbox is opened. Some even look downright appetizing!
Through a gag online tech broadcast, the world was told about how Google could be used to access television programs and network feeds with the birth of Google TV. While this was apparently a privately engineered prank not sanctioned by Google, it did look legitimate and suckered in a whole lot of people. The instructions were to send yourself an email and then log in and out of Gmail multiple times until a TV icon appeared in the Gmail logo. In the comments to the video (posted on YouTube), some users have tried logging in and out of Gmail hundreds of times without it working. The site is no longer active, so presumably this gag is long gone, but definitely a gag that got lots of attention.
April 1, 2009 saw the day that Googlel announced its newly developed artificial intelligence solution – CADIE - to reinforce and resolve learning problems, with the new technology being applied to all Google properties. This is what happened – CADIE took over the world and automated all of your email. Oh yeah, April 1st again.
In 2008 Australia in, Google announced gDay, a new beta search technology that will search web pages 24 hours before they are created. The press release stated that the technology could accurately predict future events and internet content. It accomplishes this by using machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques from a system called MATE (Machine Automated Temporal Extrapolation), and only Australian websites would be included in the beta version. So, this makes the 2 key components of the technology: gDay MATE.