10 Google Hangouts Easter Eggs

The development team at Google usually hides fun little treats or Easter eggs in almost all of the company’s products and services—including Google Hangouts. Here are 10 fun tricks you can use to amuse yourself and your friends.

1. LMAO!!

Type “LMAO!!” (with the two exclamation points at the end) into Google Hangouts and an animated emoji will pop up to share a good laugh with you (and whoever you're typing to). Type it repeatedly and you'll eventually get a laughing fox and duck. "Hahahahahaha" and "Bwahahahahaha" will also bring up a laughing emoji or the fox/duck combo.

2. /ponystream

Are you bored at work? Type “/ponystream” (with the forward slash at the beginning) into Google Hangouts and watch a neverending stream of My Little Pony ponies running back and forth in your chat window. You'll notice that some have hats, sunglasses, and even flaming manes.

3. /ponies

If you're overwhelmed by the stream, type in “/ponies”—only a single pony will appear.

4. /shydino

Type “/shydino” into Google Hangouts and a small green dinosaur will slide onto the screen and hide behind an even smaller yellow house in the middle of the chat window. Typing it again will make it go away. "We had Hangouts users mistaking one of our emoji (the house with the tree) for a shy dinosaur hiding behind a house," Sanjay Mavinkurve, Google's Lead User Experience Designer for Hangouts, told HuffPost. "It seemed a shame to not have such an emoji, so we added the Easter egg."

5. woot!!

Type “woot!!” into Google Hangouts and an animated emoji will pop up in the center of the chatbox to cheer you on. Type it in repeatedly and a fox and duck will cheer with you too. Typing “Woohoo!!” or "Yay!!" into Google Hangouts does the trick too. Just remember to use more than one exclamation point to really show your enthusiasm or nothing will pop up. 

6. Happy Birthday!!

To wish someone a more festive birthday greeting, type “Happy Birthday!!” into Google Hangouts. You can get a number of emojis, including a happy emoji man popping out of a gift or a cake on a cart pushed by a fox (with a duck popping out!).

7. bikeshed

Are you sick of the simple white background in Google Hangouts? Type in “/bikeshed” and your chatbox will change to a random color. If the hue doesn't quite match your desktop, type it again for a new color. 

8. /pitchforks

Much like “/ponystream,” if you type “/pitchforks” into Google Hangouts, villagers with fire and pitchforks will run back and forth across your chat window. 

9. Konami Code

Google programmers love the Konami Code, which originally appeared in old school video games like Contra and Castlevania. You can tell how much they love it because they’ve included the special code in many services, including Google Hangouts. Leave your cursor open in Google Hangouts and type: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, and then hit Enter. This will change your background from dull white to a lively mountainside setting with green trees and blue skies.

The Konami Code also works with Google Now (it unlocks “unlimited free” searches), Google Chromebook Pixel (it starts an exciting light show with its LED lightstrip), and Google Play Games on a touchscreen device (it unlocks trophies).

10. Happy New Year!


Typing “Happy New Year!” in Google Hangouts (at any time during the year) will lead to an animated fox and duck who will celebrate the New Year with fireworks, trumpets, and overall merriment.

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Don’t Fall For This Trick Used by Hotel Booking Sites
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iStock

Hotel booking sites can be useful tools when comparing prices, locations, and amenities, but some services use deceptive tactics to get you to click “book.”

A new report spotted by Travel + Leisure determined that those “one room left” alerts you sometimes see while perusing hotels can’t always be trusted. Led by the UK-based Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the eight-month investigation concluded that many sites use “pressure selling” to create a false sense of urgency in hopes that customers will book a room more quickly than usual. Similar notices about how many people are looking at a particular room or how long a deal will last are some of the other tactics travel booking websites employed.

The CMA also found that some discount claims had either expired or weren’t relevant to the customer’s search criteria, and hidden fees—like the much-maligned "resort fees"—are sometimes tacked on at the end of the booking process. (To be fair, many hotels are also guilty of this practice.)

The report didn’t drop any company names, but the consumer agency said it warned the sites that legal action would be taken if their concerns weren't addressed. The companies could be breaking consumer protection law, the CMA notes.

“Booking sites can make it so much easier to choose your holiday, but only if people are able to trust them,” Andrea Coscelli, the CMA's chief executive, said in a statement. “Holidaymakers must feel sure they’re getting the deal they expected … It’s also important that no one feels pressured by misleading statements into making a booking.”

Still, booking sites remain a convenient option, so if you decide to use one, just take your time and be cognizant that some of the claims you're seeing may not be entirely truthful.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The Internet Archive's Billions of Web Pages Inspired a New Art Exhibition

The Internet Archive, a digital library based out of San Francisco, contains books, movies, music, and roughly 332 billion web pages saved from internet history. The nonprofit's collection is an invaluable tool for researchers, but for the past two years, it has also provided some inspiration to artists. As Fast Company reports, the Internet Archive’s 2018 artist in residence exhibition opens in San Francisco on Saturday, July 14.

For its second annual visual arts residency, the Internet Archive invited artists Chris Sollars, Taravat Talepasand, and Mieke Marple to refer to its web archive (a.k.a. the Wayback Machine) as well as its media archive while building a body of work over the course of a year.

Marple, an artist from Palo Alto, California, created a series of illustrations based on a Facebook quiz titled “What Abomination from the Garden of Earthly Delights Are You?” She found images that inspired the project's visual style from books in the archive's library.

San Francisco artist Chris Sollars built a multimedia exhibition meant to evoke the Bay Area in the 1960s. It includes retro screen savers, literature on psychedelic drugs, and live recordings of the Grateful Dead.

The third artist, Taravat Talepasand, the daughter of Iranian immigrants, was born in the U.S. during the Iranian Revolution. She used the archive to build a mini archive containing magazines, propaganda, and posters from pre-revolutionary Iran. From that, she drew inspiration to make an accompanying series of paintings and drawings.

After launching July 14, the exhibition will be available to view at 1275 Minnesota Street, Suite 105, in San Francisco through August 11. If you're looking for inspiration of your own, artists and non-artists alike can search the Internet Archive for rare materials anytime for free.

[h/t Fast Company]

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