This recently discovered Easter egg in Google's search engine produces both an amusing and surprising result. If you have not seen it for yourself yet, go to Google and type "do a barrel roll" (without the quotes, it will not work with them).

Google, not being without a quirky sense of humor, has planted a number of easter eggs in not only their search engine, but in some of their other products as well. While the results tend to be more subtle than "do a barrel roll", some past (and still present) Easter eggs include:

  • Anagram: Searching for anagram causes Google to suggest "nag a ram"
  • Recursion: Searching for recursion causes Google to suggest "recursion" once again, for good measure
  • Alternative languages: Google doesn't discriminate. They kindly provide search services in such important languages at Klingon, Pirate and more.
  • The Loneliest number: It's 1, of course
  • The answer to the universe: Most geeks know the answer to this one already.
  • ASCII: Type in ascii art and Google will change its look to match your search criteria.
  • Askew: Type in tilt or askew and Google will slant your search results in an interesting way.
  • Gravity: Type Google Gravity and hit "I'm feeling lucky" to observe Google collapse before your very eyes.

It is probably safe to assume Google's "do a barrel roll" Easter egg originates from Nintendo's Starfox franchise. Those familiar with the series might recognize the significance of the phrase. Of course, seasoned console gamers will also be amused to see that typing "z or r twice" in Google will produce a barrel roll as well -- a pretty solid give away.

If you are particularly uninclined to check it out for yourself, you can watch the Easter egg in action below. It may also be useful for those of you running old browsers that can't handle the effect.

Update: I was not able to get the Easter Egg to work in Internet Explorer 9 or 8. It would be logical to assume older versions do not work either. It works for sure under Chrome and Firefox 7.