Google: 5 things you never knew you could do!

ONE OF THE most common fun things you find people doing on Google is the barrel roll. But let us forget the common stuff for a moment and see what other such cool (but really, the word is nerdy — and I confess it definitely applies to me!) stuff you can do on that seeming innocent Google homepage. Well, nerd or no nerd, I am certain these five things are stuff you will really want to try out as you read along.

Remember, in all these cases — weird as it may look — you can still continue to use the Search page just like normal. Simply try to pretend like nothing has happened.

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Update: Sunday, September 1, 2012. There is a follow-up article to this, containing 5 more fun things to do on Google that you never knew! Read it here.

Update: Sunday, July 1, 2012. It appears that Google has brought back the I feel lucky option even with instant search running. All you have to do is hover over any predicted search result that drops down as you type and you’ll find the link on your right.

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 5.  Google gone askew!

Google simple words and you will find the complete definition with the search engine nowadays also acting like an online dictionary. But search the word askew and you will find a little surprise.

Hitting enter will give you an entire search results page that is askew. Talk about learning with examples.

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Try out Google askew [hr_top] [hr_padding]

 4.  Access Google’s secret Mentalplex!

Did you know Google was once running a project where all you had to do was look at a revolving circle and picture the thing you are looking for. Voila, there you would have it all: perfectly served results and images too!

Google Mentalplex

Try it out. Visit the Mentalplex page, but do not hate me for sending you there.

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Visit Google’s Mentalplex

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 3.  Meet one of Google’s Ninjas

Yes, Google not only requires its employees to use 20% of their time for special productive, innovation and stuff, but it also requires itself to hire competent Ninjas for some reason.

While this is not on the main homepage, you can visit your Google Reader and try out this cool trick that will let you meet one of the company Ninjas.

Click outside an element (i.e. on an empty space) in Google Reader and type the following:

 UP   UP   DOWN   DOWN   LEFT   RIGHT   LEFT   RIGHT   B   A  [hr_padding]

Try it on Google Reader [hr_top] [hr_padding]

 2.  Fly your own plane

Alright, this one may not be that much of a trick. It once was, but it became so popular that Google incorporated it as a feature into its product. And it is one of my favourite reasons to visit Google Earth!

If you are a fan of Microsoft’s (only) awesome game series, Flight Simulator, you will be familiar with the transparent, overlaid plane HUD. There is a turn arc to control the rudder and flippers; and an altitude graph to control the elevator so basically if you know how to fly a plane and if you understand how the three plane axes work, this one will instantly appeal to you.

Google Earth Screenshot

Go to  Tools > Enter Flight Simulator  and there you are, seated in a cockpit, flying your way around the world. It is coolest in places where full-blown 3D imagery is accessible (i.e. not the middle of the Sahara or Thar, where you will just fly over fake sand. You might even go to sleep.)

You also have many views: from inside the cockpit — my favourite — or from the wing, or even from a 3rd person point of view. And you have a host of places you can land on, including 2D cities to naval ships in the middle of the sea!

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 1.  Play Pacman!

Alright, fellow nerds, this one is perhaps the best and reserved for the last.

On May the 21st 2010, to mark Pacman’s 30th birthday, Google launched one of their greatest doodles ever: Pacman around the Google logo. The doodle was Google’s first of its kind, interactive, and stayed on the homepage for 48 hours and got 505 million unique visitors (and is still getting many; I’m a regular visitor anyway!)

The downside (some call it that) was how the doodle affected the economy. Had the hours people played that game been converted into productive work, we would have earned almost exactly $120,483,800 more! And in the 48 hours that it was shown alone a given user was reported to have spent about half a minute more than the usual four-minute period of time they would otherwise spend on Google. And this money translated to buying the entire Google staff 19,835 strong, including “Larry and Sergei, right down to the jaintors,” as Tom Wright put it, “and get six weeks of their time.”

Gruesome, disappointing numbers apart, know that you can still play Pacman on google; just follow the button below, insert a coin and have a great time! Also, as a side note, if you have two players, just insert a coin twice and play with a. the arrow keys and b. the w-a-s-d key combination simultaneously.

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Play Pacman on Google [hr_padding]

Don’t forget to continue reading this article to find out 5 more fun things you never knew you could do on Google!

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Now that Google has taken away the I’m feeling lucky button from its homepage, there are a couple of such fun things you can no longer do via Google; but the good news is, some other thoughtful blokes have retained those particular versions of Google so you can still access those pages.

Try your luck disintegrating Google completely (a project called Google Gravity) and play around with broken parts here or surprise yourself by simply searching for the word  Recursion. 

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