Cool Google Tricks You Never Knew Existed

From functional to fun: The all-powerful search engine is packed with more cool Google tricks than you realized.

It can do a barrel roll!

Type "do a barrel roll" into Google, click search, and your browser window will do a 360-degree spin. It's a geeky reference to Nintendo's Star Fox series, in which a wise old rabbit named Peppy (an intergalactic fighter pilot) advises your character to avoid enemy fire by pulling said maneuver.  

It's a word nerd!

Google "anagram" and the search engine will suggest "nag a ram." Very cute.

...a serious word nerd.

"Kerning" is a term that refers to the space between characters in a font. So, when you Google "kerning," it displays the results with odd spacing between the letters.

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...a very serious word nerd!

Here's what "recursion" means, according to Google: "the repeated application of a recursive procedure or definition." When you search "recursion," Google asks "Did you mean recursion?" with a link to a search for "recursion," which then asks "Did you mean recursion?" with a link to a search for "recursion," which then asks...

It can read images!

Looking for something specific, but don't have the right keywords to describe it? You can "reverse image search" at by clicking the camera icon, uploading an image, and then getting results of pictures that look similar. (Make sure you're okay with your photos floating around the web first.)

It's overrun by the zerg!

In a manner of speaking, anyway. The "zerg" are a race of insectoid aliens in the popular Starcraft video game series. If you Google "zerg rush," the Os in "Google" behave like zerglings, the race's foot soldiers, and start chomping away at search results. Click to destroy them all!

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It defies gravity!

Fun: Google Gravity shatters the search engine into pieces that you can drag and bounce around your screen.

It's got an answer for everything!

Even though Google's "Street View" cars can't quite make it to Antarctica, if you browse Google Maps there, you'll see appropriate photos of local fauna.

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It's a 1980s arcade!

Google celebrated the 30th anniversary of the beloved classic PAC-MAN in May 2010 with a fun in-browser version of the game.

It's a personal assistant in disguise!

Why pony up for a Hollywood-style minion when these tools were designed to get you a specific type of information as quickly as possible: sports scores, movie times, flight tracking, package tracking, and even fill in the blank for when you just can't remember what you needed.

It can boost brainpower!

ZDNet offers a handy tip to sift through university research: first type "site:edu" to limit the query to educational institutions, then try "intitle:" before your topic. For example, site:edu intitle:"American magazines" brings up results from Harvard, the University of Michigan, and more.

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It can make things disappear!

If a search result contains personal information or raises a legal issue, you can request to remove a page from your or another site.

It's a crime-stopper!

Reverse image technology is allowing Google to assist child protection agencies in clearing the Web of child pornography. How it works: Google indexes problematic images and finds any copies online, making it easy for Internet providers to cut them down.

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