Today is Groundhog Day, and if you’re familiar with the movie of the same name (you should be!), your initial reaction to today’s holiday may be a single word: recursion. The movie, starring Bill Murray as meteorologist Phil Connors, focuses on a day in Connors’ life — a day which repeats over and over and over again, in a seemingly infinitely repetitive loop. Recursion.
Google the term “recursion” and you’ll see this search result, below. (Or try it yourself: click here.)
Pay particular attention to the “Did you mean” line.
The silly humor of Google engineers.
There are a number of similar “easter eggs” in Google search. Ask Google for the “answer to life, the universe, and everything,” and you’ll get a baked-in calculator result: 42, a reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The loneliest number? No, not 6 (because it’s afraid of seven, which 8 9), but 1, per Harry Nilsson, which is also the number of horns on a unicorn. ”Anagram” has its own anagram suggested (“nag a ram“). Put in “ascii art” and you’ll get exactly that, in Google-logo form.
And these neat little tricks extend beyond traditional web search. You can use Google translate to beatbox; search the Web in Klingon, Pirate, or as Elmer Fudd; use Google Maps to see the Google Maps team in Street View; and put the Konami Code into Google Reader to make a ninja appear.
If they’d just get Gmail to do the laundry (click and scroll), that’d be perfect.
Bonus fact: Ever wonder where Microsoft’s search engine (and Google competitor), Bing, gets its search results from? It turns out that they get some of it from Google — as demonstrated by this incredible sting operation revealed yesterday.
From the Archives: Hidden Messages: Everyday logos with something not-quite-obvious to them.
Related: “Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?,” a forthcoming book.