How Google Makes Us Happy in Small Ways Too

Google has substantially bettered the life of just about anyone reading these words. Sometimes Google betters our life in very small ways too. From a recent Justin Wolfers post, I learned what Google suggests you are searching for when you search for “recursion.” And the other day, I typed “anagram” in Ms. Google’s search box.

“Did you mean,” she replied, “nag a ram?”

Here’s one list of the Easter Eggs that Google has planted to keep us smiling. Know any others? Or, even better: what other firms or institutions follow this practice? I for one would love it if the IRS occasionally cracked wise in those thousands of pages of instructions …


Richard, Uk

Typing in 'French military victories' used to bring up the suggestion "did you mean 'French military defeats'?"

Brilliant.

azmyth

Search for: recursion.

Brett

Type "French Military Victories" into the google search box, then click "I'm feeling lucky".

Google will respond "Did you mean: french military defeats"

Ian Kemmish

Chambers Dictionary used to have a few easter eggs, the most renowned of which was "Eclair: a cake long in shape and short in duration."

Sadly, these have been weeded out of editions published in the past 50 years.

Eric M. Jones

Google: N12345 (any digits) and you'll get the owner of THAT airplane.

Google: "Life out of balance" and get KOYAANISQATSI

Just wish I'd bought the stock at $85. We're going to be praying to Google some years from now.

James Vineyard

Back in the early nineties, Apple released text to speech software that was pretty ahead of its time. The user just typed words and the computer would speak them.

If you asked it to say "Mississippi" it spoke the words "Flood Country." This was shortly after the state had experienced severe flooding a couple years in a row, if I recall correctly.

Not exactly funny to anyone living in Mississippi at the time, but unexpected enough to potentially get a laugh.

I'm sure there were more easter eggs that I never discovered.

Larry L. Johnson, Jr.

Someone just turned me on to search for "Where is Chuck Norris?" then hit the I'm feeling lucky button.

I thought the result was hilarious.

Dale Sheldon-Hess

The linked article mentions the "swim the Atlantic" direction that used to be in Google maps.

The author of the piece apparently didn't know that the Easter Egg was based on the real-life exploit of Benoit Lecomte (with the swim-path following in his "footsteps".)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beno%C3%AEt_Lecomte

Patrick

Search for "World Cup" and scroll to the bottom of the page and take a look at the Google logo.

Very funny and clever "easter egg."

Alex

The math/science program MatLab has a command you can enter named 'why'. If you enter it, you get a variety of answers like 'A young kid told me to', 'the computer did it', etc.

Kevin

WolframAlpha.com does some funny search answers, for example:

What is the moon made of?

Green cheese

How many monsters in Loc Ness?

0

And try asking it what the speed is of an unlaided swallow.

edi

My friend reckons that her friend (so this may be an urban myth!) got an employment contract to take home and read.

When he brought it back, signed, his employers asked if he had noticed anything unusual or if there was anything he wanted to discuss in the contract. He said no.

Turns out there was a clause in the contract which essentially said, if you notice this clause you will get an extra $10,000.

I bet he read everything carefully from then on! Probably worth it for the company, too!

Jonathan

Search Wikipedia for "poop machine" and it directs you to the page for the human Infant.

tw8s

In Google Maps, seek directions from your favorite picnic spot in AZ or southern CA, e.g. 'Ventura, CA' or 'Surprise, AZ'. As the destination type '6011', and select the Australian offering. You will need provisions for this trip of 55+ days to negotiate over 100 steps listed for you. You launch your kayak from Gas Works Park on the north shore of Lake Union in Seattle. It's a Hoot!

Elle

About 6 months ago if you searched "White people stole my car" Google would ask "Did you mean 'Black people stole my car'?"

They took it down once it started circulating though. :-) Too Funny

BT

Start typing "I am afraid" and look at the suggestions..

KevinC

It's taken down now, but last week, entering the Konami code at newsweek.com turned all the articles into articles about a Zombie invasion

John V

I just searched for GLAAD and received a lovely rainbow on the search results page.

Mark

By the way, the "French Military Victories/Defeats" easter egg isn't an actual Google easter egg. It's a website at the domain www.albinoblacksheep.com that is designed to look like Google's "did not match any documents" error page. Somehow they set it up to be the first hit whenever you search for "French Military Victories" (which is why it only works if you hit "I'm Feeling Lucky". Pretty funny, though.

JeremyN

Mark,

I believe it actually used to work on Google, even if you didn't hit "I feel lucky". Albino black sheep probably set it up to hit when hit I Feel Lucky. Of course, I could be wrong, but I think thats what it was originally.