Written by Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Table of contents
Our favourite search engine hides many secrets, in the shape of fun and useful features. Some of them make life easier, both to SEOs (where would we be now without site: and inurl: keywords!?) and regular users alike. And others have no purpose besides entertainment or doing something fun. I’m sure you’re already familiar with many of them, but I think some are so genius, they’re worth revisiting every once in a while.
Let’s dive in.
1. «Do a barrel roll»
This peculiar feature consists in typing “do a barrel roll” on Google, and just like that, the search engine’s screen will perform a 360-degree spin with the search results returned for this query. “What for?”, you’ll ask. For no particular reason, but it’s fun and we all love it.
It’s actually a reference to a very famous 1990s game, called Star Fox 64, in which one of the characters ordered the player to perform this action. Google just adapted it to its very… Google ways.
When Internet users discovered this funny trick, it was so massive, that it got to be a worldwide trending topic back in 2011.
2. Translate long numbers into English
Although it is only available in, um, English, we can put the search engine up to the task of reading any number, no matter its length, using the “=english” operator.
For example, 389759835=english equals to…
3. Set a timer
Google can also be a timer whenever we need it to be. You just have to type “timer” into the search bar, and the search results will return the timer app, which we can customise to go for as long as we need it, be it hours, minutes, or whatever.
Once the countdown reaches 0, the application will sound the alarm to let us know the set time has elapsed. However, to hear it, you need to keep the sound on, otherwise, you won’t notice it!
If we enter tic-tac-toe into the search bar, Google will return this classic game in its search results. We can choose whether we want to be the X or the O, and start to play.
There are many more game apps, which Google created and published with its interactive doodles. You can find them all here.
If we enter the word “askew” into the search bar, the results will be presented on your screen with a slight tilt to the right. Why would they even…? Because these guys at Google have a great sense of humour, that’s why.
6. Google in Klingon
That’s right! If you’re a trekkie, you will love to know that you can browse Google in Klingon. To do this, just follow this link.
Apparently, “Search on Google” in Klingon is “GoogleDaq ylnej”. Unfortunately, at Human Level we don’t have staff among our team who speak this language fluently, so we can neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of this translation. We do hope it is correct, though 😁
7. Use of asterisks in search queries
Have you ever got a song stuck in your head, but you can’t remember the title to save your life, just fragments and pieces from the lyric you cannot stop singing. Here comes Google to the rescue! Just enter any of the verses you more or less remember, and use an asterisk to replace the words you cannot remember or you’re not sure about. The search engine will fill the missing bits for you.
And if you enclose the query in quotation marks, the music lyrics featured snippet will highlight with bold text the exact part of the song where the verse you were looking for appears. Cool, eh?
8. Searching with synonyms
Well, we all know that Google is super clever and that –usually– if we look for a term or a combination of words, the search results also include their synonyms. However, this system isn’t perfect, and sometimes, even a search engine as powerful as Google, can fail and not consider this kind of thing. It’s ok, though! No need to panic. There is a very simple way to remind it to include synonyms of a specific word in the search, adding this “~” character next to the search term or phrase.
9. Related websites
The search engine can also search for related and/or similar websites to the one we’re interested in. This can be done using the “related:” keyword, followed by the domain of the website we are already familiar with. For example:
10. Google in 1998
To round up this list of Google Search fun facts and tricks, we figured it would be a good idea to allow Google to transport us back in time to 1998, the year in which the company was founded. If you enter “Google in 1998” into the search bar, you’ll be presented with this delightful vista:
Do you feel old now? We do.
Tell us about your favourite Google tricks!