19 Fun Google Tricks You’ll Want to Try Immediately
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. You can get the same fun Google tricks effect by typing “z or r twice” in reference to the controller buttons you’d press in the game. Don’t miss these other 12 funny Google searches that have us wondering, “who asks these questions?”
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.
…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…you get it. Curious about the ins and outs of this genius search engine? Find out more about how Google actually works.
It can read images!
Looking for something specific, but don’t have the right keywords to describe it? This is one of the more useful fun Google tricks. You can “reverse image search” at images.google.com 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! Need a laugh? Check out the 21 times people had instant regret while Googling (maybe you did after searching “zerg rush”).
It speaks secret languages!
On the top of your Google homepage, hit the nine squares at the top and go to My Account. Scroll to the bottom to find Language & Input Tools under Account Preferences. You can change your language to fun ways of speaking like Muppets (Bork, bork, bork!), Elmer Fudd (Ewmew Fudd), Klingon, and pirate. For instance, with that last one you’ll find “moorr” instead of “more.”
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. Google Maps is one of our favorite (and more helpful) Google features; find out how it can help you find parking.
It’s a 1980’s arcade!
Google celebrated the 30th anniversary of the beloved classic PAC-MAN in May 2010 with a fun in-browser version of the game. Now it uses its homepage for fun Google tricks when celebrating other famous birthdays and holidays, too.
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. You can also search get results from a specific website a similar way. Site:rd.com, anyone? Find out the 9 things you should never Google.
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. Find out another surprisingly easy way to delete yourself from the Internet.
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.
It’s a little unbalanced!
Something isn’t quite right here. If you type “askew” into Google, you’ll find something funny: The whole screen tilts down a bit to the right.
It knows the meaning of life!
Type in “answer to life, the universe, and everything,” and Google has a pretty clear answer: 42. The search results are a nod to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which claims the number is, in fact, the answer to life. If it knows the meaning of life, then it definitely knows a lot more. Here’s how to find out all the creepy things Google knows about you.
It doesn’t like to be alone!
Google has hundreds of billions of web pages in its index (though some estimate it’s even more), so it probably can’t take loneliness very well. Type in “the loneliest number” in the search box and some fun Google tricks show you a calculated number—the same one you’ll get if you type “number of horns on a unicorn.”
It likes to get specific!
Thought “once in a blue moon” was just a vague expression? Not according to Google. Search that phrase and you’ll get a very specific frequency: 1.16699016 × 10-8 hertz. It’s a play off the fact that blue moons happen every 2.71 years.
It never stops moving!
Want to see something cool? Type “blink html” into your Google browser. But be warned: you probably won’t be able to handle watching the blinking words for very long. Close the page and check out the most popular “how to” searches on Google instead.
It tries to make you feel better!
There’s nothing more frustrating than that “Unable to connect to the Internet” message on Chrome. Luckily, Google knows your pain and lets you blow off some steam. Hit the space bar on your keyboard and the dinosaur will jump into action, launching a game that provides endless fun. Or at least as much fun as you can fit before remembering you had work to do.