What is an Easter egg? A tasty chocolate treat wrapped in foil? A symbolic icon representing the empty tomb of Jesus Christ?
Now both of those answers are right, but they're still not the kind of Easter egg that we're talking about.
The Easter eggs we're talking about are the inside jokes, references and hidden treats you find in computer programs, movies, games and literature.
At NLM we've put together our favourite webby Easter eggs of all time! Enjoy!
Google is no stranger to tomfoolery and hijinks, it’s wedged a whole heap of hidden gems into its search engine over the years. We'll start off with a few new ones from Google voice search and then go back in history to find the cool older ones we could find that still work.
Say the phrase “who are you” using Google voice search or Google Now
Fans of classic Brit rock will get a kick out of this next Easter egg. If you have Google Now on your phone or tablet or you're using the desktop voice search function, simply ask Google “Who are you”. The voiceover will then proclaim “searching for yourself may take a lifetime. However rock music is a good place to start”
Say the words "Beam me up Scotty" into a Google voice search on your Android device.
You'll get a terrible impression in reply.
Say "up up down down left right left right" into Google Voice Search.
Waaaay back in 1985 Kazuhisa Hashimoto was building a game called Gradius for the Nintendo.
Yes kids, they had computer games in the 80's. One day if you're very lucky, Ol' Grandpa Jon will tell you all about his all night session of Frogger on an Atari somewhere in Houston, TX.
Anyhow - poor old Kazuhisa made the game he was building so fiendishly difficult that he couldn't test it easily. So he built in a cheat code that allowed him to get all the power ups available so he could blast through the tests.
On launch, he forgot to remove the cheat, which got shared on bits of paper in school playgrounds the world over and subsequently passed into gaming and computing lore.
Say "tea, earl grey, hot" into Google Voice Search. (Easiest if you're English)
When Amit Singhal was put in charge of the Universal Search at Google (that's everything that isn't Google Ads) he thought back to what inspired him to build amazing tools. It was Star Trek and it was phrases like this, spoken to a computer which then gave you what you wanted.
As the answer to the above question tells you, Google's not there quite yet, but with Google Now on Android it's close.
Say "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood" into Google Voice Search.
You won't believe what happens next!!
Type "do a barrel roll" into Google's search bar (sans "bunny ears")
My personal favourite is a playful nod to the original Starfox game for the N64. In Starfox 64 your rabbit eared wingman Peppy constantly gives you tips and advice during dog fights, “Do a barrel roll” being his favourite and most annoyingly frequent tip. Type Peppy’s favourite hint into Google and watch that search bar spin!
Type "zerg rush" into Google's search bar
WTF is a Zerg and why is it eating my SERPs? Well, 'the Zerg' are a playable race in the RTS game StarCraft, and the Zerg's special ability is that Zerg units have a faster spawn and build time than the other playable races. It's no surprise then that Zerg’s main attack strategy consists of swarming and overwhelming an opponent through sheer numbers. Google will let you replicate the terrifying (and unbeatable) Zerg onslaught by typing ‘zerg rush’ into your search bar.
Type "askew" into Google's search bar
Keen to show off their sense of humour Google will purposefully “wonkify” your SERP when you type the word “askew” into your search bar. The same thing happens when you type the word “tilt”. Clever right?
Translate "pv zk pv pv zk pv zk kz pv pv pv zk pv zk zk pzk pzk pvhzkpkzvpvzk kkkkkk bscpv" from English to German in Google Translate
Google translate will drop a phat beat (I heard someone say that once, I think it’s the correct usage) if you translate the following ‘words’ from German to English “pv zk pv pv zk pv zk kz pv pv pv zk pv zk zk pzk pzk pvhzkpkzvpvzk kkkkkk bscpv” alternatively you could just click this link. Click the listen/beatbox button (looks like a speaker icon) to hear Google give Beardyman a run for his money.
Type "recursion" into Google's search bar
Typing Recursion into Google will bring up a suggested search query “did you mean recursion”. Click it and you’ll end up in an ouroboros like loop which will only end when you tire of clicking. Way to act mature Google...
Type “Atari breakout” into Google's image search bar
Fancy a trip back to 1972? Enjoy the next best thing by playing Atari’s old skool hit Breakout, just type Atari breakout into your image search bar and watch as the picture results transform into breakable blocks If you’re lazy you could always click this link instead.
Type "google in 1998" into Google's search bar
Ah, 1998. Bill Clinton was yet to have “sexual relations with that woman”, Titanic had just won best picture and Google had just been founded. See what Google looked like “way back when” by typing ‘Google in 1998’ into your search bar. Smell the nostalgia.
Type "Jason Isaacs" into Google's search bar
Weirdly, searching for Jason Isaacs will prompt Google to say “Hello to Jason Isaacs”. Now those who aren’t familiar with Jason Isaacs may know him better as Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter franchise or as Captain Steel from Black Hawk Down. Why does this reference mean? It means someone at Google clearly listens to the film reviews on radio 5 live. The presenters Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode (school chum of Isaacs’) say “Hello to Jason Isaacs” every show regardless of whether he’s on the show that week.
Type “the answer to life, the universe and everything” into Google's search bar
As a massive Douglas Adams fan this little nod to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy never fails to make me smile. If you ask Google *(preferably do this wearing slippers and a bath robe for authenticity)
ask Google instead of ‘Deep Thought’ for the “Answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”, you still get the same answer – 42, Google only takes 0.30 seconds to return this result though, ‘Deep Thought’ took 7½ million years!
Type “anagram” into Google search bar
Here’s Google being a clever clogs once again with suggested search. Type anagram in to your search bar and Google will ask you “did you mean nag a ram” which funnily enough is an anagram of the word anagram. It does the same thing if you type “define anagram” which returns the query “did you mean nerd fame again”
Type “bacon number” followed by a celebrity or actors name into Google search bar
Familiar with the Bacon Number? It’s pretty much identical to the six degrees of separation theory, this is the theory that any two people in the world can be connected together with 6 or fewer common links. The Bacon Number is the same as 6 degrees of separation only you replace one of those two people... with Kevin Bacon. Yep that’s right, type “bacon number <insert famous person>” into Google and see how closely they're linked, for example Sidney Poitier has a Bacon Number of 2!
Type “what’s the loneliest number” into Google search bar
Here’s a treat for fans of soft rock/baroque pop. Google flaunts its calculator again by showing us “two can be as bad as one”. If you ask Google what the loneliest number is it will simply tell you that 1 “is the loneliest number that you'll ever do”. © Harry Nilsson
Fellow Redditors and ‘shibes’ will get a kick out of this cheeky little reference. Type “doge meme” into YouTube, all the hyperlinks change colour and the type face switches to comic sans. To the moon!! If this reference has gone over your head, then I urge you to brush up on your memes
Add "&pow=1&nohtml5=1" to the end of our YouTube video's url
Here’s another Geek Week inspired Easter egg to try out on YouTube. Copy and paste "&pow=1&nohtml5=1" onto the end of your url so it looks like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m_S-IDs3Wg&pow=1&nohtml5=1. You get a cool little Pow! button next to the CC box which when clicked will add an awesome comic book filter to your video. Shazow!
Type “beam me up scotty” into YouTube search bar
Yet another geek week Easter egg which is sure to make ‘trekkies’ and ‘Wars’ fanboys alike smirk. Type “beam me up scotty” into your search bar and watch the videos teleport with blue shimmery goodness onto the page. The only downside is that it doesn’t make the trademark teleporty noise, feel free to make the noise with your mouth though.
Type “use the force luke” into YouTube search bar
Not to be outdone, the Star Wars franchise gets a nice little nod with this next little Easter egg. If you type old ben kenobi’s trademark “use the force luke” quote into YouTube, you'll suddenly have the ability to shift the page contents around using the power of the force / your mouse. WARNING do not try this if you've had a drink, it will hurt your brain…
Type ‘fibonacci’ into YouTube search bar
This mildly interesting Easter egg won’t so much amuse as it will make you wish you paid more attention in Maths class. The Fibonacci (not to be confused with Fenerbahçe...) sequence also expressed as Fn = Fn - 1 + Fn -2 is a sequence of numbers in which each number equals the sum of the two preceding numbers (thanks Google). By typing Fibonacci into YouTube your videos will be arranged in tiles that exhibit that follow the same sequence, ultimately combining to form a Fibonacci spiral. “Molto bene”
Type “1980” anywhere on screen while watching a YouTube video
Another nostalgic blast from the past, this absolute corker of an Easter egg lets you play the Atari gem Missile Command while watching a video. To get the 8 bit missile game on screen all you have to do is type 1980 on your keyboard. It doesn’t have to be typed in the search bar or in the url, just type 1980 anywhere on the page and the game will start up. Get blasting!
Press ↑, ↓, ← or → on your keyboard while you’re YouTube video is buffering
Now this Easter egg isn't really hidden, as you've undoubtedly bashed you’re keyboard in frustration as you’re video buffers. Hit the ↑, ↓, ← or → arrows on your keyboard while the buffering circle is spinning and you can play a game of snake to pass the time.
Type “do the harlem shake” into YouTube search bar
Remember 2013? It was a long time ago I realise but if you can cast your memories back you’ll probably recall a song called “Harlem Shake”, you can probably remember there was a meme which went viral as well and got very old, very quickly… Everyone jumped in on the Bauer bandwagon and produced their own versions, but did you know YouTube made their own? Simply type “do the Harlem shake” into your YouTube search bar and watch as the video page bounces about to the beautiful sound of wub-wubs.
Type the Konami code ( ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← →← → B A) on your keyboard anywhere on the digg front page
If you're “no stranger to love” then this Easter egg is right up your street. Originally done as an April fool’s joke the digg main feeds featured images can be miraculously transformed into a mosaic of the one, the only, Mr. Rick Astley. If you’re not familiar with Rick rolling in web culture have a quick brush up on your ‘memology’ http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/rickroll. To see Rick Astley’s mosaicked mug on dig, just punch in the legendary Konami code anywhere on the screen and watch as Rick magically appears before your eyes. If you haven't played Contra or Battle toads in a while, here's a reminder of the Konami code: ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← →← → B A
Right click and press view ‘page source’ on the Skittles website
As if you needed another excuse to visit the Skittles website, this little Easter egg can be found hidden in the websites HTML. Hit page source on the skittles main site (or if you’re lazy you can go here view-source:https://skittles.com/) scroll through the reams of code and you’ll find a giant skittle, a rainbow and some dude’s face drawn completely using letters and characters.
Click the top icon above the social channel buttons on the Sky Bet site
This next little trick on the Sky Bet site is absolutely genius. On the Sky Bet main site there’s a small button that looks like a cartoon man silhouette with a caution symbol on it, hover over it and the image title should say “Boss? Look Busy!” Clicking this button will transport you away to some very intricate and studious looking spreadsheets. A great way to disguise your crippling gambling addiction.
Click ‘view page source’ on the oatmeal.com
Turns out the web's funniest comic has some pretty funny html as well. If you do the ‘view page source’ trick (see Hidden skittles) on the oatmeal website you'll bump into a Pterodactyl who’s using some rather unsavoury language. Click here to view the original, and uncensored version
Type ‘about:robots’ into your Firefox browser’s search bar
According to this Easter egg, the Mozilla foundation is run by a group of sentient robots who are equal parts friendly and menacing! Type ‘about:robots’ into Firefox’s search bar and you’ll receive a nerdy message with lines that contain one of Asimov’s ‘Three Laws of Robotics’, a reference to ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ and a nod to Futurama’s Bender. Can you work out which line references what?
search for ‘This is Spinal Tap' on IMDB
This Easter egg isn't really that interactive, but it’s still a really cool and clever nod to a truly epic film. If you look at the star rating at the top of the page you'll see that ‘This is Spinal Tap’ has 8 stars out of not 10 but 11! If this reference is lost on you, then I strongly urge you to watch the film and at the very least this short Youtube clip
Is there a well known easter egg you think we've missed? Let us know we'd love to see it @NoisyMonkey
Inbound Manager @ Noisy Little Monkey, Josh blogs about SEO, Local & Mobile, HubSpot and Inbound Strategy.
Subscribe to our blog
Get monthly digital marketing tips sent straight to your inbox want to know what you expect before you subscribe? You can preview the monthly newsletter right here.