‘Do a barrel roll’ and other Google Easter eggs

November 4, 2011

On Thursday, a little Google Easter egg went viral on social network sites: typing “do a barrel roll” into a Google search box will make your search results pay loving homage to the Nintendo 64 game Starfox 64. (Not for those who are prone to motion-sickness.)

And, in a delightful nod to gamers in-the-know, you can get the same results by typing “z or r twice.” This little gem only works in browsers that support HTML5, and Google told ABC News that the query “was created by a Google software engineer with the primary goal of entertaining users - while showcasing the power of CSS3, a presentation feature of modern browsers.”

Other Google search Easter eggs include typing in “askew” or “tilt” into the search engine, typing “ascii art,” in reference to the design style that creates pictures out of keyboard characters, and the “Did you mean” text that pops up when you search for “recursion.”

Google is known for inserting little jokes into its products, and has also programmed its calculator to accept some offbeat units of measurement including “the loneliest number” or “once in a blue moon.” You can find a full list of Easter eggs — where else? — on the Google hoaxes Wikipedia page.

It also often launches at least a few gems to honor April Fools’ Day, such as its joking introduction Google Motion, the hand-gesture interface for Gmail, this past spring.

Related stories:

New Gmail draws mixed reactions

Happy 13th birthday, Google!

Gmail Motion a reality, thanks to USC Kinect hackers

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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