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What is a virtual Easter Egg?

What is a virtual Easter Egg?
Gualtiero Boffi | Dreamstime.com Dreamstime.com

When you hear the words “Easter eggs,” you probably think of colorful painted or dyed eggs hidden around the yard for Easter celebrations. But there’s another kind of Easter egg out there and it’s virtual and digital. These are surprising features hidden in games, on websites, or tucked into computer software.

Google is the champion of amusing Easter eggs. Google’s Easter eggs have nothing to do with bunnies, chocolates, or seasonal celebrations, but they are entertaining at any time of the year. These fun diversions cover everything from playable classic video games to fidget spinners.

You just have to know the secret commands to make them appear. Check out seven of the search giant’s best Easter eggs and have fun exploring these goofy features.

1. Do a Barrel Roll

If you don’t get motion sickness easily, then you need to try out one of Google’s most famous tricks. Go to the Google search box and type in “do a barrel roll.” The search term triggers your Google results to quickly spin around before settling back into a normal orientation. This Easter egg has been around since 2011, but it doesn’t get old.

Learn how to search the web without Google tracking you.

2. Atari Breakout

Want to sneak in a quick classic video game? Head into Google’s image search and type in “atari breakout.” Watch as the image results transform into a playable version of the retro game where you bat a ball up a series of blocks to make them disappear. You control the paddle with your mouse. It starts off at a leisurely pace but quickly gets more challenging as you go along.

3. Search in a new language

Google offers its search results in quite a few different languages, but there are some surprising options on the list. From the Google search page, click on “Settings,” and choose “Search Settings.” Click on “Languages” and expand the options with the “Show more” drop-down menu. “Bork, bork, bork!” sets the language to that of the Swedish Chef from “The Muppet Show.” You will also find Elmer Fudd, Hacker, Pirate, and Klingon for Star Trek fans.

4. Blast from the past

Google was founded in 1998 and it hasn’t forgotten the year it was born. Search for “Google in 1998” to see an amusingly outdated replica of its original search page. It will remind you just how far the logo has come. Just click on “Take me back to the present” to return to modern times.

5. Fidget spinner

The fidget spinner insanity may be quieting down, but you can still find a remnant of the fad when you search for “spinner” or “fidget spinner” through Google. You will get normal search results, but you will also get an animated fidget spinner that you can spin to your heart’s content. Google gives you an option to turn it into a number-based spinner instead.

Here’s how to erase everything you ever searched for on Google.

6. Bubble level

Here’s a brilliant little trick for mobile devices. Search for “bubble level” on Google using your phone or tablet. You will get a digital bubble that responds to your gadget’s movements. You can use this as a quick way to help level a picture.

7. Flip a coin

You have a decision to make. So long as the answer is between two things, you can let Google decide for you. Type “flip a coin” into the search box and it will randomly generate a heads-or-tails response. This is probably best for figuring out if you want to eat at a Thai or Mexican restaurant and not for big life-changing decisions. For a similar trick, try “roll a die” to get a randomly generated six-sided die roll.

Now that you know some of Google’s Easter egg secrets, you can impress your friends and entertain yourself. And good luck with beating your high score in Atari Breakout!

Excited about Easter eggs? Facebook has them, too.

Have more fun on Facebook by discovering hidden Easter eggs.

Click here to learn about seven secret Facebook Easter eggs.

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