It’s no secret that Google loves experimenting and creating new messaging tools for its users while trying to find the perfect one. Just in the last few years alone, Google has created Android Messages, an SMS and RCS messaging client for Android phones, Google Allo, a WhatsApp-like instant messaging service that only works on phones, with no web client or tablet support, and Google Duo, a Facetime-like video chat service. One of our favorite chat applications from Google, though, is Google Hangouts, an application that can support most of the features of the previous and newer apps above. Hangouts is an all-in-one chat application, with support for instant messaging, video chat, VOIP calls, and so much more. The app even used to support SMS messaging, though that’s been removed over the past year in an effort to refocus the app for business users primarily. Still, despite the change in audience, Hangouts is the perfect app for anyone looking to chat with their friends, family, and loved ones around the world.
Also see our article How To Record Google Hangout Conversations
Keeping with Google’s fun-loving spirit, Hangouts includes a number of secrets, hidden features, and so much more for chatting with your friends no matter where they are. One of our favorite aspects of the chat app is Google’s animated emoji collection that can be activated by using keywords and phrases to immediately activate the animations within your chats. These secrets, or ‘easter eggs,’ are excellent ways to liven up your chat communications, no matter who you’re talking with. If you’re wondering how to activate these tricks, or even what they consist of, read on—we’ve got the full guide for you below.
How Do You Use Google Hangouts?
If you haven’t used Google Hangouts before, you’re in luck. It’s really easy to access Hangouts from your Gmail account, your smartphone, or any other web-enabled device. Once you’ve activated Google Hangouts and logged in with your Gmail account, you can start a chat with any of your Gmail contacts right from your devices while at home or on the go.
There’s a couple ways to gain access to Google Hangouts from within Google itself. Start by heading over to your Gmail account, then tap the grid of icons in the top-right corner of your browser. There, you’ll see access to a ton of other Google applications. If Hangouts isn’t shown here, try tapping the”Show More” icon at the bottom of the list. Once you find the Hangouts icon, tap it and Hangouts should load within your browser. Alternatively, you can also click here or head to hangouts.google.com to access your Hangouts client from the web.
On mobile platforms, accessing the chat app is even easier. On most Android phones, Hangouts is included right out of the box—check your app drawer or, on Samsung devices, the included Google folder to see if Hangouts is there. If it is, simply load the application and login with your Google account automatically to load your friends, make video and VOIP calls, and start chatting with users. If you’ve uninstalled or don’t have the app on your device, the Android version is available for free for download from the Google Play store here. On iOS, you can download the app for free from the App Store here. As with Android, you’ll have to sign in with your Google account on iOS to use the app.
What are Easter Eggs?
In technology, an Easter egg is a secret, hidden feature or tool included purposefully by developers to give folks looking for some extra content something to find. Easter eggs have been included in video games, DVD menus, applications, and even operating systems. The first Easter egg was found in an Atari video game called Adventure, where programmer Warren Robinett hid his name within the game despite the corporate rule at Atari at the time dictating that programmers weren’t allowed in the credits of the game. Since then, plenty of Easter eggs have popped up within media, including hiding a chronologically-edited version of Christopher Nolan’s Memento within the DVD menu, including a shootable photo of John Romero in Doom 2 (the series he co-created), and Apple hiding the 1984 launch date for the original Macintosh back in 2012 when downloading applications from the Mac App Store.
Google is certainly no stranger to the artform of Easter eggs, especially on their Android phones. Google’s Search functionality has often hidden special tricks and secrets, like searching “do a barrel roll” on desktop searches causing the entire screen to rotate 360 degrees. Each version of Android has included separate Easter eggs, typically found by heading into the About section of Android and tapping on the version number to unlock an included secret. These have, in the past, been small games like a Flappy Bird-take with the Android logo, and most recently with Android Nougat, a cat-collecting minigame that lets you feed virtual pets from within your own notification tray.
Google Hangouts Easter Eggs
Like so many other Google products, Hangouts is no secret to Easter eggs and other hidden projects that Google hides in their apps for those developers and users looking for the latest fun wink and nod. Hangouts’ Easter eggs are especially fun and useful—not only are the Easter eggs cute and featuring Google’s soon-to-be-discontinued blob emoji collection, but they can be shared between you, your friends, and other users around the world. This way, unlike with most other Easter eggs hidden online and in other assorted media products, these tools aren’t just for you—they can be shared with anyone else.
Activating these Easter eggs involves being in a chat with someone else, no matter who they are. The idea behind each Easter eggs is simple: each one can be used to send a fun animation to the person or group you’re chatting with at any moment. There are nearly twenty known Easter egg messages and commands hidden within Google Hangouts, and each one can be used to send a special message to your friends or family. We’ve gathered the entire list below, so whether if you’re looking for something specific or just want to experiment with special tools and tricks, we’ve got some cool content for you here below. Let’s take a look.
- /ponystream: Ponystream is one of our favorite hidden Easter eggs, because it’s so funny and seemingly-random. Typing ‘/ponystream’ into the chat box and sending it as a message will cause dozens of My Little Pony-lookalikes to run across the screen infinitely. To stop the ponies, type ‘/ponystream’ again. Alternatively, you can also type ‘/ponies,’ which will cause a single pony to run across your screen before ending. This is certainly the strangest Easter egg hidden in Google Hangouts, but it’s also one of our favorites.
- woot!!: Typing “woot” allows an animated blob emoji face to crawl up the screen and laugh in your face.
- Happy Birthday!!: This command has a couple separate actions, including a male emoji popping out of a gift to surprise the other user, or a cake on a cart pushed by a fox and a small bird.
- Happy New Year!!: Like the Happy Birthday!! command, Happy New Year!! sends a fox and a goose onto your display to celebrate, accompanied by fireworks. This seems to only work on the first of the year, however.
- LMAO!!: This classic command brings another yellow, laughing emoji-like face into view. Other commands, including “lolol,” also trigger this command.
- /tableflip: Instead of sending this message, your phone will automatically send a text-based kaomoji flipping over a table.
- /shydino: This causes a tiny green dinosaur to crawl across the chat window and hide behind an equally tiny house.
- /bikeshed: This command changes the background color of your chat window.
- /pitchforks: sends a mob of pitchfork-carrying people running across the screen.
- woohoo!!: Similar to the woot!! command, woohoo! gives you a fox and goose who momentarily celebrate on your display.
- 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: This will trigger yet another laughing emoji.
- /shruggie: This is one of our favorites. Though shruggie is now a full-blown emoji, nothing really beats the classic kaomoji shrug icon. Type /shruggie to send ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ to your users instead.
- Hehehehe: This command will show a chuckling emoji on the left side of the chat room.
- Rofl: This will trigger a fox and gentlemen duck on your display.
It’s important to remember that these commands require them to be written exactly as above to activate. If they’re missing a piece of grammar, punctuation, or anything else required to put the command into action, the command won’t work. Some of these, including the New Year command, also require additional context based on the date or time of year, so do keep that in mind when writing or sending commands that don’t correlate to the holiday in occurrence (for another example of this, the Happy Easter!! command, not mentioned above, also requires the date to coincide with Easter). If the command you’ve typed is indefinite, such as the Ponystream command, you can also type the command a second time to turn the animations off, or you can close the chat window.
Finally, it’s worth noting that some of these will only work on mobile platforms, while some will only work on desktop platforms. Experiment and test them out to see what happens with your favorite emojis, and keep checking back to see new updates or additional action lists. And of course, if you’ve discovered some of your favorite animations on your own, feel free to list them in the comments below!