Google Hangouts, Google’s chat app included with Gmail and the social networking site Google+, is a trouble-free, operating system neutral way to connect with friends and family near and far by SMS, instant messaging, or video chat. It’s also full of surprises! As many developers have taken to doing in recent years, the Google team has included a few Easter eggs to wow and delight. Here’s how to find them, and how to get them to display.
What are Easter eggs?
Okay, so we’re obviously not talking about those colored hard-boiled eggs that Easter Bunny-loving folks make every spring. When it comes to technology, Easter eggs are unexpected, mostly hidden and little-talked-about features that programmers hide in a program to entertain the users who happen to find them. As a rule, Easter eggs are jokes or bonuses, not features you actually need. Still, they’re fun to find and even more fun to employ.
Where do you find Google Hangouts?
If you’re a regular Gmail user, you probably have either Google Chat or Hangouts already enabled in your account. If you’re on the old Google Chat, you’ll need to upgrade to Hangouts by clicking on the down arrow next to your name and highlighting “Try the new Hangouts.”
Hangouts is automatically enabled if you’re on Google+, and you’ll find it on the right side of your profile just under your profile image. Click the quotation mark to see a drop-down list of people in your circles with whom you can chat.
Alternatively, you can access Google Hangouts on the Web and via Android and iOS app.
The big list of Google Hangouts Easter eggs
The list of known Google Hangouts Easter eggs is below. To get them to work for you, you’ll need to type them exactly as shown inside an active Google Hangouts chat window. Most of the Easter eggs are animated displays that pop into the conversation. They’re a bit more spectacular than your usual emoji, some lasting longer than others.
- /ponystream puts galloping ponies inside the chat window
- woot!! adds a temporary, laughing yellow emoji-like face
- Happy Birthday!! shares a cake and burning candle
- Happy New Year!! lets loose a fox, goose, and fireworks
- LMAO!! brings another yellow, laughing emoji-like face into view
- /ponies shows a single horse that runs across the screen
- /shydino causes a tiny green dinosaur to crawl across the chat window and hide behind an equally tiny house
- /bikeshed changes the background color of your chat window
- /pitchforks sends a mob of pitchfork-carrying people running across the screen
- woohoo!! gives you a fox and goose who momentarily celebrate
- yay!! gives you a quick view of a celebratory emoji
- xoxoxoxo puts animated hearts in a yellow emoji-like character’s eyes
- lolololol gives you a laughing yellow emoji
- Bwahahahahaha gets you another laughing emoji
- Happy Easter gets you a bouncing Easter bunny
- Hehehehe shows a chuckling emoji on the left side of the chat room
- Rofl triggers a fox and gentlemen duck
Remember, these only work when you type them exactly as written above, including the punctuation. Most of these animations are one-hit wonders, but a few will continue to display indefinitely. You can also type the command a second time to turn the animations off, or you can close the chat window.
So those are a few of the Easter eggs you can activate to add a little more animation to your Hangout chats. Google frequently adds Easter eggs in Hangouts for holidays and special occasions, so odds are good that you’ll be surprised by a new animation when you least expect it.