Google plays secret Santa with ‘let it snow’ feature
Published 20/12/2011 | 08:45
GOOGLE has given the gift of a white Christmas to web users, who can now summon a blizzard by typing "let it snow" into the search box.
Flakes fall gently from the top of the browser and eventually fill up the screen, allowing users to draw in the snow with their mouse pointer. Google has also provided a "defrost" button to melt the flurry when it's time to get to work.
The seasonal feature is the latest example of a Google "Easter egg", the jargon for a joke or bonus buried in software.
It raised some Christmas cheer on Twitter, as people around the world tweeted their excitement.
"Let it snow" adds to many Google Easter eggs, including the now-famous “do a barrel roll”, a throwback to the 1997 Nintendo game, Star Fox 64, which sends the screen into a 360-degree spin when the phrase is typed into the search box.
There are plenty of others, too. Here are a few of Google’s finest buried easter eggs…
1) Recursion – Google’s rather useful “did you mean” feature is a blessing for those with scatty typing hands. Correctly type “recursion” into the search box, however, and Google still suggests “recursion” as an alternative, sending users into an infinite loop of results. Clever stuff.
2) Askew – Type “askew” or “tilt” into the search box and users will be met with a lop-sided version of their results page
3) Google Calculator – In a nod to Douglas Adams’s science fiction novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, anyone searching for “the answer to life the universe and everything” will find Google’s calculator comes up with a rather simplistic answer – 42.
4) Mentalplex – Released as an April Fool’s joke in 2000, Google’s Mentalplex is a faux-search engine that claims it can guess users’ queries simply by reading their mind. Instructions read: “Remove hat and glasses. Peer into MentalPlex circle. DO NOT MOVE YOUR HEAD.”
5) Ascii art - Typing "ascii art" into the search box will return a special Google doodle, designed in the now-obsolete graphic technique used in early text-only computers.