Get smarter, faster. Subscribe to our daily newsletter.
There's a secret adventure game hidden in Google Search. Here’s how to play.
Easter eggs have been hidden in video games since Atari's Adventure; now Google search has hidden an entire adventure game.
- A Reddit user discovered a hidden adventure game buried in Google search's development console.
- The adventure game is the latest in a long list of Google Easter eggs and oddities dedicated to video games and pop culture.
- Have some time to kill today? Read here to learn how to access this Internet gem.
Google is well-known for adding games, hidden features, and colorful doodles to its search engine, but a recently discovered Easter egg may be the most esoterically random thing the Silicon Valley giant has squirreled away in its code yet. And this is coming from a company that put a "recursion" joke into its search algorithm. (This one.)
The latest Easter egg is a secret adventure game hidden inside Google search's development console. The game was discovered by Reddit user attempt_number_1, who shared his find on the Google Reddit page.
Have some time to kill? Some work you'd like to procrastinate on? Here's how to go on your own Google adventure.
How to find Google's hidden adventure game
The Google search bar houses a fun text-based adventure game, if you know where to look.
To find the game, follow these simple instructions:
- Start by searching for "text adventure" in Google search.
- On the results page, go to the development console. You can either right-click in the browser and select "Inspect Element" or hit "Ctrl+shift+J" (Cmd+Option+J for Mac).
- When the development console comes up, select the "Console" tab along the top.
- The console will ask, "Would you like to play a game?" Type "yes" to start.
(If you type "no," it will peevishly respond, "Fine, be that way.")
In the game, you play as a big blue G looking for your five friends: red o, yellow o, blue g, green l, and the "always quirky" red e. You must explore Google's Mountain View campus to find them. Along the way, you have to perform tasks like helping "nooglers" (that's "new googlers") get around and properly greeting a door-keeping alligator.
In the tradition of text-adventure greats like Zork, the game is presented and controlled entirely through text. You type "north" to move north, "grab" to grab an item, and "quack" to quack.
You win by collecting all your friends to complete the Google logo. You'll also receive a tally based on your number of actions, the time you took to complete it, and a secret score that I won't spoil here.
Google, a hidden history of secret games
Google has a long history of including video game shout outs in its search engine. To pick just a few examples; typing "zerg rush" into the search bar will cause an army of Os to attack your results (a shout-out to the alien race from Starcraft); typing "do a barrel roll" will cause the screen to flip (a shout-out to Star Fox 64's Peppy Hare); and typing "pacman google" will bring up a playable Pacman game in the shape of the Google logo (a Google Doodle crafted in honor of the game's 30th anniversary).
But it's not all video games. Google search features in-jokes and references that have no discernible reason for their existence other than they made some Google developer laugh. Some of my favorites include:
- typing "flip a coin" into the search engine will flip a coin for you;
- typing "wubba lubba dub dub" will ask you "Did you mean: i am in great pain please help me" (a reference to the Adult Swim show Rick and Morty);
- typing "the answer to life the universe and everything" nets you the answer "42" (a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy); and
- the search engine's language settings include Pirate, Klingon, and Elmer Fudd.
Similar oddities can be found on YouTube, Google Maps, and in the Android OS. The list of Google Easter eggs is expansive, and as attempt_number_1 proved, new ones may be found any day. So enjoy them, but try to remember to get some work done today.
- Google's Research Arm Wants to Identify What Makes a Great Team ›
- Do most educational games suck? - Big Think ›
- Want to Find Yourself? Try Playing Dungeons & Dragons. ›
An open letter predicts that a massive wall of rock is about to plunge into Barry Arm Fjord in Alaska.
- A remote area visited by tourists and cruises, and home to fishing villages, is about to be visited by a devastating tsunami.
- A wall of rock exposed by a receding glacier is about crash into the waters below.
- Glaciers hold such areas together — and when they're gone, bad stuff can be left behind.
The Barry Glacier gives its name to Alaska's Barry Arm Fjord, and a new open letter forecasts trouble ahead.
Thanks to global warming, the glacier has been retreating, so far removing two-thirds of its support for a steep mile-long slope, or scarp, containing perhaps 500 million cubic meters of material. (Think the Hoover Dam times several hundred.) The slope has been moving slowly since 1957, but scientists say it's become an avalanche waiting to happen, maybe within the next year, and likely within 20. When it does come crashing down into the fjord, it could set in motion a frightening tsunami overwhelming the fjord's normally peaceful waters .
The Barry Arm Fjord
Camping on the fjord's Black Sand Beach
Image source: Matt Zimmerman
The Barry Arm Fjord is a stretch of water between the Harriman Fjord and the Port Wills Fjord, located at the northwest corner of the well-known Prince William Sound. It's a beautiful area, home to a few hundred people supporting the local fishing industry, and it's also a popular destination for tourists — its Black Sand Beach is one of Alaska's most scenic — and cruise ships.
Not Alaska’s first watery rodeo, but likely the biggest
Image source: whrc.org
There have been at least two similar events in the state's recent history, though not on such a massive scale. On July 9, 1958, an earthquake nearby caused 40 million cubic yards of rock to suddenly slide 2,000 feet down into Lituya Bay, producing a tsunami whose peak waves reportedly reached 1,720 feet in height. By the time the wall of water reached the mouth of the bay, it was still 75 feet high. At Taan Fjord in 2015, a landslide caused a tsunami that crested at 600 feet. Both of these events thankfully occurred in sparsely populated areas, so few fatalities occurred.
The Barry Arm event will be larger than either of these by far.
"This is an enormous slope — the mass that could fail weighs over a billion tonnes," said geologist Dave Petley, speaking to Earther. "The internal structure of that rock mass, which will determine whether it collapses, is very complex. At the moment we don't know enough about it to be able to forecast its future behavior."
Outside of Alaska, on the west coast of Greenland, a landslide-produced tsunami towered 300 feet high, obliterating a fishing village in its path.
What the letter predicts for Barry Arm Fjord
Moving slowly at first...
Image source: whrc.org
"The effects would be especially severe near where the landslide enters the water at the head of Barry Arm. Additionally, areas of shallow water, or low-lying land near the shore, would be in danger even further from the source. A minor failure may not produce significant impacts beyond the inner parts of the fiord, while a complete failure could be destructive throughout Barry Arm, Harriman Fiord, and parts of Port Wells. Our initial results show complex impacts further from the landslide than Barry Arm, with over 30 foot waves in some distant bays, including Whittier."
The discovery of the impeding landslide began with an observation by the sister of geologist Hig Higman of Ground Truth, an organization in Seldovia, Alaska. Artist Valisa Higman was vacationing in the area and sent her brother some photos of worrying fractures she noticed in the slope, taken while she was on a boat cruising the fjord.
Higman confirmed his sister's hunch via available satellite imagery and, digging deeper, found that between 2009 and 2015 the slope had moved 600 feet downhill, leaving a prominent scar.
Ohio State's Chunli Dai unearthed a connection between the movement and the receding of the Barry Glacier. Comparison of the Barry Arm slope with other similar areas, combined with computer modeling of the possible resulting tsunamis, led to the publication of the group's letter.
While the full group of signatories from 14 organizations and institutions has only been working on the situation for a month, the implications were immediately clear. The signers include experts from Ohio State University, the University of Southern California, and the Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses of the University of Alaska.
Once informed of the open letter's contents, the Alaska's Department of Natural Resources immediately released a warning that "an increasingly likely landslide could generate a wave with devastating effects on fishermen and recreationalists."
How do you prepare for something like this?
Image source: whrc.org
The obvious question is what can be done to prepare for the landslide and tsunami? For one thing, there's more to understand about the upcoming event, and the researchers lay out their plan in the letter:
"To inform and refine hazard mitigation efforts, we would like to pursue several lines of investigation: Detect changes in the slope that might forewarn of a landslide, better understand what could trigger a landslide, and refine tsunami model projections. By mapping the landslide and nearby terrain, both above and below sea level, we can more accurately determine the basic physical dimensions of the landslide. This can be paired with GPS and seismic measurements made over time to see how the slope responds to changes in the glacier and to events like rainstorms and earthquakes. Field and satellite data can support near-real time hazard monitoring, while computer models of landslide and tsunami scenarios can help identify specific places that are most at risk."
In the letter, the authors reached out to those living in and visiting the area, asking, "What specific questions are most important to you?" and "What could be done to reduce the danger to people who want to visit or work in Barry Arm?" They also invited locals to let them know about any changes, including even small rock-falls and landslides.
What makes some people more likely to shiver than others?
Some people just aren't bothered by the cold, no matter how low the temperature dips. And the reason for this may be in a person's genes.
Eating veggies is good for you. Now we can stop debating how much we should eat.
- A massive new study confirms that five servings of fruit and veggies a day can lower the risk of death.
- The maximum benefit is found at two servings of fruit and three of veggies—anything more offers no extra benefit according to the researchers.
- Not all fruits and veggies are equal. Leafy greens are better for you than starchy corn and potatoes.