Before we get started with a few Easter eggs; for those not familiar with Google’s tradition of intentional technological blunders, an Easter egg is a feature hidden within software, which is sometimes publicized and other times left widely unknown for users to stumble upon like cattle over a cattle guard. Sometimes an Easter egg represents itself as a special function, secret message, or even a game or puzzle of sorts. In nearly every situation, a specific movement, pattern, code or other deliberate action is required to trigger the Easter egg. The purpose of creating this post is to highlight a new Easter egg. That’s right folks, an Easter egg that has never been seen before, or at least, I can’t find anyone talking about it. But first, here are a few popular Easter eggs that currently exist in Google’s ecosystem of Easter eggs:
Google Maps and Traveling to Mordor
With the recent release of The Hobbit, I felt this was rather timely to bring back to the surface, although the reference is mostly only relevant to Lord of The Rings.
To trigger the Easter egg, You’ll need to visit maps.google.com and select your mode of transportation as “walking”, enter your starting location as “The Shire” and your final destination as “Mordor”, click to get directions and an Easter egg appears in a warning box quoting Boromir speaking to the Council of Elrond that says “Use caution - One does not simply walk into Mordor.”
In case you were curious of the whole quote, because I think it’s awesome:
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“One does not simply walk into Mordor. Its blackgates are guarded by more than just Orcs. There is evil there that does not sleep, and the Great Eye is ever watchful. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire, and ash and dust, the very air you breathe is a poisonous fume. Not with ten thousand men could you do this. It is folly.”
Firefox Logo and Strange “FX”
Enter the coordinates 45° 7’25.87″N 123° 6’48.97″W into the maps.google.com search field and zoom in on the map to see the Firefox logo that is deliberately placed in an empty field. Zoom out slightly and look down, and you’ll see an airplane and cars nested neatly together to spell “FX” and off to the side you’ll see several people that appear to be playing dead (not pictured below, you’ll have to see it for yourself).
Google Homepage Easter Egg
This one is simple. When on the Google.com homepage, leave the search field blank and hover over the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button, and several different options will appear within the button. Some of my favorites include “I’m Feeling Hungry”, “I’m Feeling Puzzled”, and “I’m Feeling Playful”. Next time you are hungry, just know that Google has a solid option within an Easter egg, or you could just go search “restaurants” and get the same results, but hey, where’s the fun in that?
Google Docs Spreadsheet Easter Egg
Ok, now for the Grand Finale.
Open a new (or existing) Spreadsheet in Google docs. Fill in the first two fields (A1 & A2) with two related items (I did my two favorite soft drinks, Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper). Highlight the two cells and select the small box in the bottom right corner while holding ctrl (hold Option for Mac users) and drag down several fields to execute the function.
The cells will then be filled in with other related items (or in the case of my example, other inferior soft drinks).
At first I thought it was a loophole of information from the Google Gods or a small window into the facilities full of data in Google Heaven. Admittedly, after some looking around, I found that this Easter egg is a remnant of a feature built years ago under an abandoned Google Labs experiment called Google Sets. At any rate, I’m calling it an Easter egg, and I wanted to share the love.
Are there any other Easter eggs you have found that not many people know of? With Easter and April Fool’s day falling within a day of each other this year, I would imagine they have some Easter eggs and April Fool’s pranks up their sleeve.
What Easter eggs and pranks do you think Google will hide this year? Let everyone know in the comments!