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25 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.

barrelvia google.com

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?”

anagramvia google.com

It’s a word nerd!

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

recursionvia google.com

…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.

imagesvia google.com

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 and 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 OK with your photos floating around the web first.)

zergvia google.com

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”).

languagevia google.com

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 under Data and Personalization. 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.”

shattervia google.com

It defies gravity!

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

pacmanvia google.com

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. Now it uses its homepage for fun Google tricks when celebrating other famous birthdays and holidays, too.

eduvia google.com

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 results from a specific website in a similar way. Site:rd.com, anyone? Find out the 9 things you should never Google.

removevia google.com

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.

imagesvia google.com

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.

askewvia google.com

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.

answervia google.com

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.

loneliestvia google.com

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.”

specificvia google.com

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.

blinkvia google.com

It never stops moving!

Want to see something cool? Type “bvsdf” 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.

trexvia google.com

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.

throwbackvia google.com

It can go back in time

Haven’t you always wondered what old web pages used to look like? Google lets you see what it looked like back in the day. Just type “Google in 1998” into the search bar and you’ll be brought back in time. Wow, the Internet really has come a long way. This is the truth about Google’s incognito mode.

atarivia google.com

It can challenge you

Want a game break? Just go to Google images and type in “Atari Breakout.” The images turn into bricks and you can move the bar along the bottom of the screen to break them. Challenge on!

timervia google.com

It can time you

If you need to time yourself for an oral presentation or maybe you’re trying to clean your kitchen in less than five minutes, there are Google tricks to help you with that. Type “set timer for x amount of time” and the search engine will pull up a timer at the top of the screen.

conversionvia google.com

It can give you a quick conversion

Still can’t figure out how to convert inches to feet or kilometers to miles? This is one of the Google tricks that can give you answers quickly. Just type any conversion into the search bar to get your answer. For example, try typing “63 yards to feet.” Check out these hidden Google Map tricks you never knew about.

IP addressvia google.com

It knows your IP address

Your IP address is a unique string of numbers that identifies where your computer is based on the Internet you’re hooked up to. If you don’t know yours, Google can tell you. Just search, “What’s my ip.” 

tipsvia google.com

It can help you tip

If you’re in a food coma after inhaling your dinner and can’t figure out what 20 percent of the bill is, just type it into Google. Type, “what is the tip for $x” and a convenient calculator will show up at the top of the screen. You can adjust the percentage you want to tip and even add how many people the bill is being split among. 

flipvia google.com

It can help you win

Heads or tails? Just type “flip a coin” into Google and one will appear under the search bar.

marsvia google.com

It can take you to a different planet

If you thought you could spend hours exploring the street view on Google Maps, try going to Google Mars to explore the planet. Next, check out these fascinating things captured by Google Earth.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest