30 Best Google Easter Eggs Of 2021

What do you think of when you hear the words "Easter egg?" Those words have a specific connotation to much of the population, related to a certain holiday which happens in the spring of each year. They conjure images of children tromping through gardens, searching for hidden treasures. In tech or gaming circles, however, an Easter egg is something entirely different.

The more modern usage of the term dates back to "Adventure," an Atari 2600 game developed by Warren Robinett. The story goes that Robinett was denied any credit for the game he created. So, as an act of early video game rebellion, he coded a secret room which players could find through a specific set of actions. That room's only function was to serve as a flashing credits screen for its creator.

Years later, when the room was discovered and Atari became aware of its existence, an emergency meeting was called to discuss what was to be done. Reportedly, some of the head honchos were angry, but Steve Wright, manager of Atari's home video game department at the time, thought it was cool, comparing it to discovering an Easter egg.

The popularity of "Adventure's" secret room set off a revolution in Easter eggs which lives on to this day, including in the world's most frequented search engine. Google Easter eggs are hidden features which, like "Adventure's" secret room, reveal themselves through specific actions.

Here are our favorite Google Easter eggs from 2021 and how to find them.

The classic DVD screensaver

If you're a person of a certain age (ahem, over 30) or just a fan of "The Office," you might remember the classic screensaver on most early DVD players. Between rounds of watching "Finding Nemo" in your living room, the screen would revert to a black square (remember when TVs were square? What a wild time!) which a bouncing "DVD" logo pinging from top to bottom and side to side.

If you Google the words "DVD screensaver," at first it looks like any other search, complete with articles to read and videos to watch. Then, while you're deciding which hours-long video of the classic bouncing screen to watch, the Google logo looses itself from its perch in the corner and beings bouncing around your monitor.

You could entertain yourself for whole minutes as it careens around the screen, hoping for it to hit precisely in the corner. If you see it happen, let us know!

Do a barrel roll

The barrel roll is an aviation term referring to a maneuver during which an airplane rotates both horizontally and vertically, returning to the same heading upon completion.

While the term and the maneuver predate video games by decades, it was popularized by Nintendo's "Star Fox" franchise. In "Star Fox 64," Peppy Hare tells the player to "do a barrel roll" as part of the early training missions. The game's barrel roll is a simplified version of the maneuver, during which the player's starship rolls only along the horizontal axis.

Peppy's command to do a barrel roll stuck with players, becoming a long-lived meme during the early days of the social internet. In 2011, Google added their own twist on the barrel roll in the form of an Easter egg.

Searching for the words "do a barrel roll" in the Google search bar results in the screen turning a full 360 degrees clockwise, mimicking the motion of the ship in "Star Fox 64." You can also activate the egg by searching for "z or r twice" which is a reference to the button commands used in "Star Fox 64" to barrel roll your ship.

In-browser games

Google has a whole slate of playable games built right into the search engine interface, waiting for you to call them up to play. Searching for "Pac-Man" will deliver the expected search results where you can learn about the history and current state of the game. But before all that, you'll see a custom level map of the game, playable in your browser.

The usual twists and turns of "Pac-Man's" classic levels are replaced with walls spelling out a blocky version of the Google logo. You can use the direction keys on your keyboard to navigate Pac-Man through the maze, gobbling up spheres and power ups while avoiding ghosts.

Googling the word "snake" will take you to pages about slender, limbless animals, but the first result is a clone of the classic consumption game. You can navigate a snake through a small arena, eating apples and growing larger. It conjures memories of early Nokia phones and one of the first mobile games millennials ever obsessed over.

More browser games

If "Pac-Man" and "Snake" aren't enough to keep you entertained, Google's secret arcade has a number of other games on offer.

Searching for "Solitaire" or "Minesweeper" offers up stylized versions of the classic games many of us remember playing on our first family computers in the '90s, while waiting for questionable responses from strangers in AOL chat rooms.

Winning a game of Google's Solitaire won't give you that satisfying card cascade from when you were a kid, but there is a celebratory animation which is almost as good. Google's Minesweeper lacks the industrial aesthetic you might remember, while maintain the same level of frustration over deciding between to blocks with equal probability of being mined.

Searching for "Tic Tac Toe" results in a version of one of the world's oldest games, complete with a computer opponent to play against. Which makes it all the more frustrating when you make a silly mistake and lose against a machine.

They aren't the most thrilling games, but they've stood the test of time, and they're a welcome surprise when all you were expecting were millions of search results.

Google Breakout

"Breakout" is a classic game released by Atari in 1976. Like many of Atari's early games, the gameplay was simple, yet challenging and addictive. Unlike the above Easter egg games, this one takes a little more effort to find.

As before, you'll begin by searching the name of the game in Google's search engine. But instead of being presented with the game at the top of the search results, you have to do a little more digging. Navigate to the Images option in the overhead table. Once there, you'll want to look for the image which redirects to "elgoog.im" it should be in the top row of returned image results. Then click to expand the image. Click the expanded picture one last time and all of your image results will shrink and transform into blocks for you to destroy.

You'll also be given a bar at the bottom of the screen and bouncing ball. Now you can play breakout, destroying the search results to your heart's content.

Text adventure

Maybe the above games are too technologically advanced for you. You wish for the days before pixelated characters and chiptune soundtracks, when the only thing you had to rely on was the world's most impressive graphics generator: the human mind.

Back before video games had pictures, gamers had to rely on text prompts and their imaginations. Games like "Zork" and "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" entertained a generation and you can relive those glory days by searching for "text adventure" in the search bar.

Again, this Easter egg requires some additional steps. Once your search results have generated, you'll need to press Ctrl+Shift+J if you're on a Windows computer, or Cmnd+Option+I if you're on a Mac. That should open the Inspector tool and you'll see a window populate on the right side of your screen.

Just below a safety warning, you'll be presented with the question every adventurer is waiting for, "Would you like to play a game?" If you accept the call to adventure, you'll enter into a story where you play as the blue capital G of the Google logo, on the hunt for your missing friends.

Take a chance with a coin toss or roll of the dice

No one likes to make hard decisions but sometimes we have to. Even worse, sometimes all of your options are equally bad, or equally good, and we find ourselves paralyzed by indecision. If you find yourself in that sort of situation, you can offload the decision-making to Google.

Searching for "toss a coin" presents a fictional digital coin that lands either on heads or tails. If you're unhappy with the result, you can always flip again. It's the best of both worlds, you can ultimately blame Google if things go wrong, while still secretly doing the thing you really wanted in the first place.

If the direction you need is more complicated than a simple binary decision, Google has a whole bag of dice for you to play with. Searching for "roll dice" gives you a single d6 which lands on a random number between one and six. You also have the option to add any combination of d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, and a modifier, depending on your needs.

Use your endless bag of digital dice to play a role-playing game or choose between hundreds of options. The possibilities are truly endless.

Time travel with Google in 1998 or explore the Tardis

In life, there aren't many do-overs, but that doesn't mean Google doesn't have options for simulated time travel. Searching for "Google in 1998" lets you travel back in time to the very beginning of the search engine's existence. As soon as you hit enter on your search, you'll find yourself on a version of the search results page which looks wholly different while remaining familiar.

This is what Google looked like, all those years ago when it was first launched. There are only a handful of usable results and clicking them takes you to the Wayback Machine Internet Archive where you can peer into the proto internet like finger paintings on a digital cave wall.

For even more time travelling fun, search for "232 Earls Ct Rd, Earl's Court, London SW5 9RD" in Google Maps. In the table on the left, under "at this location" you'll se a familiar looking police box. If you select it and choose Street View, you can enter the Tardis and look around.

Try as we might, we haven't been able to figure out how to fire the ship up and blast off into time and space. If you figure it out, let us know.

Change your point of view with Askew and the "Cha Cha Slide"

The first of these perspective shifting Easter eggs is relatively simple, yet fun. If you type "askew" into Google, you'll be delivered all of the search results you might expect, with a small twist. Literally. Google nudges your display ever so slightly a few degrees clockwise. It's good for a soft chuckle but that's about it. Searching for the "Cha Cha Slide" takes search engine interactivity to another level.

The song was released in 2000 by DJ Casper and quickly made its way onto Billboard's Hot 100, where it stayed for five weeks. People all over the world were sliding to the left and cha cha-ing real smooth. Google got in on the action by creating an Easter egg not-so-subtly hidden in the search results.

Searching for the song delivers the music video at the top of the search results. Near the video—either above or below depending on your specific search terms—you'll see a sparkling microphone icon. Click the icon and you'll hear the lyrics "to the right now" play through your speakers, while Google moves to the right. Keep clicking the changing icon picture and you'll move through the song's basic dance steps.

Zerg rush

If you're an internet user of a certain age, you probably remember LAN parties, playing "StarCraft" with your friends late into the night, drinking Mountain Dew and eating Doritos. They weren't the healthiest choices, but it was the '90s.

There was nothing worse than struggling to build up your fledgling base at the beginning of a new game, only to be overwhelmed by a rush of early zerglings which tore through your buildings and SCVs while you watched in dismay. Now, you can bring all of that frustration and fun to your search engine experience by searching for "zerg rush" and selecting the first result.

An army of colorful Os will invade your screen from all sides, just like the zerglings of old, and commence consuming your search results. If you don't destroy them fast enough, your search results will crumble one by one until there's nothing left. Your job is to fend off the invaders by clicking on them until they die, or until you do.

Google gravity, sphere, and space

For this one you need to go to the primary Google page at Google.com, instead of searching in the overhead bar. Once there, you can mess with the physics of your search engine in a number of ways by typing in one of a few different search terms and clicking "I'm Feeling Lucky."

Searching for "Google gravity" pulls all of the page's elements to the bottom of the screen in a tumble, as if they are under the influence of an intense gravitational pull. Despite their jumbled state when they finally come to rest, everything is still functional.

Searching for "Google space" has the opposite effect. Instead of falling to the floor, everything begins casually drifting around the screen as if the digital world's gravity has been turned off.

Finally, searching for "Google sphere" combines the two realms of space and gravity whipping the search page elements into an orbit around the Google logo. Hovering over this makeshift solar system slows things down enough for you to click things if you need to and moving your mouse cursor around changes the properties of the spin.

Fun with avatars

There are a couple of ways you can control a video game avatar through Google's search engine, and one of them doesn't even require an active internet connection. In fact, it only works if you're not connected.

Attempting to access Google without an internet connection results in an error page with a cute little 8-bit dinosaur. Pressing the spacebar while in this state initiates a game in which you control the dinosaur as it runs through a desert jumping over cacti.

As you move through the environment, your speed consistently increases, ramping up the difficulty of the game until the dinosaur ultimately meets its end.

The second character under your control is higher in detail but lower in functionality. Searching for "Sonic the Hedgehog game" (it's important to include the word "game" in order for this to work) will bring up all sorts of sites about Sonic, but you'll also see an active avatar in the information box to the right. Clicking on Sonic sends him into a spin and, eventually, into his golden Super Sonic state.

3D animals and other objects in the "real" world

When searching the names of animals, you can expect to be pointed to the relevant Wikipedia page, local pet stores, or informational articles at the World Wildlife Fund, but certain animals offer up an unexpected and fun feature.

This Easter egg only works when searching for animals on your mobile device, because it needs a camera in order to work. A subset of animal searches will ask if you want to meet a life-sized version up close.

Querying a Giant panda, a house cat, or an alligator, just to name a few, give you to option to view in 3D. You'll have to give Google access to your camera, but once you do, you'll find yourself sharing space with a life-size version of your chosen animal in augmented reality.

Seeing a virtual hamster crawling on your desk is fun, but you don't need to limit yourself only to living animals. You can bring dinosaurs into your home, as well as anatomical systems, characters from pop culture, and more.

Calculator tricks

Certain questions, framed in the right way, will bring up Google's built-in camera, even when that doesn't seem particularly relevant.

Searching for "the answer to life the universe and everything" brings up the camera with the number 42 displayed. This is only one of the many calculator jokes Google has programmed into the search engine.

Asking "what is the loneliest number" or "the number of horns on a unicorn" will populate the calculator with the number one displayed.

Perhaps the coolest calculator trick happens if you google the term "pi." As before, the calculator pops up and you'll see the value of pi calculated to eleven decimal places. The real fun begins if you click the sparkling pi symbol in the top-left corner.

Doing so initiates a game in which the calculator will generate digits of pi, then ask you to repeat them. Each round adds another digit until you get one wrong. It's a fun way to memorize the digits of pie, if you're into that sort of thing.

Googly eyes

Everyone loves googly eyes. They're perfect for keeping in your bag and sticking to random objects out in the world for an added bit of whimsy. It makes sense that Google would do something fun with them, considering how close their names are.

When you search for "googly eyes" the two Os of the Google logo in the top-left corner of the screen are replaced with a pair of googly eyes which descend onto the screen from above. It's a subtle enough effect that you might miss it if you're not paying attention. But they're there, peering through tubes, judging the questions you ask.

Where the eyes come from is unclear, but it doesn't really matter. Now they're here and your day has gotten a little better. Or a little creepier, it's up to you.

From then on, until you click away for another screen, those eyes follow your cursor wherever it goes. Watching. Always watching.

Did you mean?

Similar to the calculator tricks listed above, Google has programmed a bunch of niche jokes into the "did you mean?" suggestions.

Searching for the late, great Alex Trebek hits you with the suggestion, "Did you mean: who is Alex Trebek?" a reference to the structure of the gameshow he hosted for 36 years.

Searching the word "anagram" results in the suggestion "did you mean: nag a ram?" which is itself an anagram of anagram. Clever. Searching for either "recursion" or "Groundhog Day" results in Google asking if you meant to search for recursion or Groundhog Day, the very terms you already searched for.

If you click the suggestion, it send you back to the same page with the same suggestion, resulting in an endless loop of repetition. Bill Murray, eat your heart out.

Searching for "Bruno Madrigal" suggests "Did you mean: we don't talk about Bruno?" Interestingly, the same thing doesn't happen if you search for "Fight Club." Go figure.

Fun facts and feeling curious

Speaking of Alex Trebek and "Jeopardy!" you can train for to be the next champion using a couple of different search terms. Querying either "fun facts" or "I'm feeling curious" gives you a box at the top of the screen with a random question like "is it possible to fire a gun in space" or "how long does it take for a diamond to form?"

After a few seconds, the answer populates beneath the question with a link to the referenced article where you can read more.

At the bottom of the box is a button which, when clicked, generates another random question and answer. Given the many billions of pages which currently exist on the internet, you could potentially click through a series of random fun facts for the rest of your life without ever finding them all.

If that doesn't get you ready for the next trivia game night with your friends, nothing will.

What the future holds

One of the frustrating yet fun features of many Google Easter eggs is that they don't always stick around. Some have been a feature of the site for years, while others come and go before you get a chance to try them for yourself.

Limited Easter Eggs related to the cast of "F.R.I.E.N.D.S.," the famous "Star Wars" scroll, and the Ever Given Suez Canal incident which captures all of our imaginations for a few brief weeks have come and gone. That's just a brief list of the Easter eggs which are no longer active in the search engine.

The good news is the folks at Google are always creating new secrets for us to discover and enjoy. There's no telling what the future will bring, but it will probably be fun, at least for a little while. And it's enough to keep our eyes peeled while we're studying for college exams or keeping up on the latest meme trends.