What is a Google Easter Egg?
The term 'Easter Egg' has two meanings. One that you're probably aware of is an egg you eat at Easter, and the other is a feature hidden within a design, one that might not seem immediately obvious.
These Easter eggs could be a hidden feature in a logo (see our logo Easter Eggs), or they might be videos or games built into the code of a program or website that can only be unlocked in a certain way. That means you have to know what to do to be able to take part.
Google Easter Eggs are fun because they're super-accessible. All you need to do is type the search term into the Google search bar then follow our instructions for some Easter Egg fun. Some work slightly differently, but we'll keep you updated as we go. But we should warn you, once you realise the extent of this deliciously addictive feature, your workflow may suffer as a result.
01. Sonic the Hedgehog
Do you miss the original manifestation of everyone's favourite hedgehog? We certainly do. Here's your chance to enjoy the 1991 version of our spiky friend, complete with those evocative jumping noises.
Type 'Sonic the Hedgehog video game' into the Google search bar and you'll find Sonic waiting for you to the right of the screen. After a little while, he starts the foot tapping that used to give us all palpitations, letting you know you're taking too long.
Click on Sonic to see him jump, and hear the 'boing' that was the soundtrack to hours on end of hoping the Mega Drive didn't overheat. Keep clicking, and after 25 times, he will transform.
02. Google in 1998
For a trip back in time, try searching 'Google in 1998'. Although it's less feature-packed than other Easter Eggs, it's certainly interesting to check out how Google used to look. You can't actually search on this page, but we enjoy the retro aesthetic and pondering how Google has evolved since then.
Check out the links at the bottom of the page that suggest the user try searching through some of the other big search engines of the time. That's certainly a feature that's unlikely to return.
3. Do a barrel roll
Enter 'do a barrel roll' into the search bar and enjoy the somewhat geeky (but awesome) reference to Nintendo's Star Fox as the screen rotates 360 degrees.
Sometimes we long for the simplicity of the days when playing PC games was limited to those found in the Windows start menu. Solitaire, Hearts and... that other one with the King's head that turned from side to side.
And of course, Minesweeper. Here's your chance to immerse yourself in the numbered battle against the computer. Type 'Minesweeper' into the search bar to partake.
Google released this super-fun series of Friends Easter Eggs this year, in celebration of the 25th anniversary (yes, really) of our favourite group of chums. This one is probably our favourite.
We won't go into all of them, we don't want to ruin the surprise, but try typing in the full names (we know you know them) of the characters and watch what pops up. We've demoed 'Joey Tribbiani', because everyone loves the Joey Special.
6. Wizard of Oz
There will be no place like your Google homepage after you type 'Wizard of Oz' into the search bar. Click on Dorothy's sparkling Ruby slippers and watch the world turn upside down as the eponymous tornado comes to town.
This one was created in 2019, for the 80-year anniversary of the film's release in 1939.
7. T-Rex Runner
This is a Chrome-specific Easter Egg that the dinosaur-mad among us will get a kick out of. If you've ever tried to browse offline on your Chrome browser, you might recall the Lonely Dinosaur illustration that appears before you. But have you ever taken much notice of it?
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To start the action, Android/iOS users need to tap on the dinosaur, while desktop users press the space-bar or the up arrow key. This launches the T-Rex Runner game, in which users control the running dinosaur by tapping the screen or pressing the space-bar or up arrow to avoid obstacles. The features of this game are updated periodically, and reaching different point totals changes the entire screen.
It's seriously hard to believe that such an abundance of fun has been right in front of our eyes this whole time and we never knew. What a great reason to get offline.7.