If you type the words “let it snow” (without the quotation marks) into the search engine Google.com or Google.ca*, you probably won’t be surprised when Google gives you back a list of links to the classic Christmas song.
What might surprise you, however, is that it will also start snowing on your computer screen!
Eventually, so much “snow” will fall that your screen will fog up. But don’t worry, you can click on Google’s “defrost” button to clear it again. You can also use your mouse to “wipe” the screen clean.
This trick is known as an Easter egg. The term refers to eggs that are hidden during Easter for children to find.
What Google’s programmers are doing is hiding a little surprise right in their search engine — kind of like an Easter egg hunt.
If you know what to type, and you’re using the right browser software (it won’t work with older versions of Internet Explorer), you can discover some fun Easter eggs.
For instance, if you go to Google.com and type Hannukah, Google will string a set of virtual stars across the top of your screen.
If you type Christmas lights or Santa Claus, you’ll get a string of Christmas lights across the top of the page.
This kind of thing is nothing new for Google, which for years has been very inventive about taking the tedium out of searching the Internet.
Here are some other Easter eggs Google has hidden:
- search for [askew] or [tilt] (Note: don’t type the brackets, just the words.)
- search for [recursion]
- search for [google gravity] and click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button
- search for [do a barrel roll]