Google is a great tool for getting work done, but you know what they say about “all work and no play” (if not, you can Google it). Google’s programmers feel the same way, which is why they slip some fun stuff into Google’s products from time to time.
In the past, we covered 12 fun things you can do with Google, including making your search results do a “barrel roll” or play guitar. Now we’re back with nine more fun things you’ll want to try right away.
1. Retro Google
Google’s search page is so minimal and changes are so subtle, it’s easy to forget what it originally looked like. However, it was actually quite a bit different.
If you want to see Google as it first launched in 1998, simply type “Google in 1998” into Google search and bask in the simplicity.
2. Return of the blink
Speaking of early internet pages, do you remember when websites used to have blinking text? It was thanks to the <blink> HTML tag. Eventually, everyone realized it was tacky and distracting, so it went away.
However, if you really do miss the blinking, or just want to remember how annoying it was, type <blink> into Google. At first, it looks like nothing is unusual, but scroll down and you’ll see every “blink” is blinking.
3. Money, money, money
Even if you’ve never played a video game, you probably know Nintendo’s mascot, Mario. Star of countless Super Mario games, the little plumber is instantly recognizable, as is the sound effect you hear when he collects coins from the iconic floating question-mark boxes.
In honor of Mario and his 30+ year history, Google has programmed the question-mark box and sound into Google search. Search for “super mario bros” and then click the question-mark box over toward the right for a sound that’s sure to take you back.
4. Breaking out
Is Mario not old-school enough for you? Take a jump back to 1976 and a company called Atari. Atari made arcade games, the first widely available home gaming unit and classic games like Pitfall, Moon Patrol and Breakout.
To relive the fun of Breakout, go to google.com/images and type “Atari Breakout” into the search area. Then use the mouse or the left/right arrow keys to move the paddle around. Don’t drop the ball!
5. Games of chance
Not everyone is a fan of computer games, but everyone loves board games, and a staple of board games are the dice. Unfortunately, dice are easy to lose. What if you want to play your favorite board game, but one of your dice has gone A.W.O.L.?
Type “roll a dice” into Google and it will generate a number from 1 to 6. It might not be as satisfying as flinging the cubes of chance yourself, but it will do in a pinch.
6. Flip a coin
Going back to an even more basic game of chance, Google lets you flip a coin as well. Simply type “flip a coin” into Google and it will tell you heads or tails. The NFL probably isn’t going to use it, but maybe it should.
7. Game of Life
In 1970, John Horton Conway, a British mathematician, developed the Game of Life. It’s a simulation of population growth that takes place on a two-dimensional grid and runs on its own.
To start your own simulation, type “conway’s game of life” into Google and keep an eye on the upper-right corner of the search results. You can pause the simulation to add and remove cells from the board or click the right arrow icon to step through each generation more slowly. Click the icon with the two squares to expand the simulation out to fill the entire screen.
8. Fun with language
You might already know that Google Translate can help you communicate in more than 80 languages. However, what if you want to get your Google results in another dialect? Click one of these links to enjoy Google in pirate, Elmer Fudd, hacker and Klingon.
9. Get an actor’s Bacon number
You’ve heard of the term “Six degrees of separation,” which says that any two people on Earth are connected by six people or fewer. There’s also the funnier version called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”
In the Kevin Bacon version, you have to figure out the least number of degrees that an actor or celebrity is connected to actor Kevin Bacon. Of course, if you aren’t up on your movie trivia, that might be difficult.
Fortunately, Google can do the work for you. Simply type “Bacon number” and an actor’s name into Google and you’ll see how they’re connected. For example, “Bacon number Daniel Craig” shows that there are two degrees of separation between the two actors.
Which one of these was your favorite trick? Do you have one you love that wasn’t listed here? Let us know in the comments.