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 members 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 smelly, 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 are included as part of a program for entertainment purposes. As a rule, Easter eggs are bonuses, not feature sets 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’ll likely 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 and you’ll get 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 follows below. To get them to work for you, you’ll need to type them exactly as shown inside any active Google Hangouts chat window. Most of the Easter eggs are animated displays of sorts, some lasting longer than others.
- /ponystream puts galloping ponies inside the chat window
- woot!! Adds a temporary yellow emoji-like face that laughs
- Happy Birthday!! shares a cake and burning candle
- Happy New Year!! Lets loose a fox, goose and fireworks
- LMAO!! brings a yellow laughing emoji-like face into view
- /ponies brings forth 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 brings a whole mob of pitchfork-carrying people out, who run from the right of your screen to the left
- 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 earns you a bouncing Easter bunny
- Hehehehe shows you a chuckling emoji on the left side of chat room
- Rofl triggers a fox and gentlemen duck
Remember, these only work when you type them exactly as written above, including punctuation used. Most of these animations are one-hit wonders, but a few will continue to display indefinitely. To turn them off, close your chat window and then reopen it. You can also type the command a second time to turn off any lingering animations.
So those are a few of the Easter eggs you can activate to add a little more animation to your Hangout chats. Google frequently updates Easter eggs in Hangouts for special holidays and occasions, so odds are good that you’ll be surprised by a new animation when you least expect it.