21 Google Hangouts Easter Eggs to Animate Your Chats
Search giant Google has made no secret of its desire to extend its dominance into the world of messaging and social media. In the past few years, Google 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). It is an indication of the mixed success that Google has had in this arena that we feel obliged to include the parenthetical comments telling you what the various services are; the odds are, you haven’t heard of them, let alone use them.
There’s one major exception, however, to Google’s mixed track record with social messaging apps, and that is Google Hangouts, Google’s all-in-one chat application, with support for instant messaging, video chat, VOIP calls, and much more. Hangouts even formerly supported SMS messaging, though that was removed in a perhaps misguided effort at refocusing Hangouts on the business community. Despite the change in intended audience, Hangouts is still a fantastic perfect app for anyone looking to chat with their friends, family, or loved ones around the world.
Google does have a sense of humor, and in keeping with that spirit, Hangouts includes a number of secret “hidden features” and Easter eggs. One of our favorite aspects of the app is Google’s animated emoji collection which can be activated by using keywords and phrases within a chat. These Easter eggs are a fun and silly way to liven up any chat, no matter who you’re talking with. In this article, I’ll explain how to activate some of the best tricks and tell you what they do.
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. Getting to Hangouts is easy. 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 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 to automatically 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 the tech and video game world, 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 mainstream 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, 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 no stranger to Easter eggs. Google’s Search functionality has often hidden special tricks and secrets, for example, searching for “do a barrel roll” on desktop searches causing the entire screen to rotate 360 degrees. On smartphones, every version of Android has included a new Easter egg, typically found by heading into the About section of Android and tapping on the version number to unlock the included secret. These have sometimes been small games, such as a Flappy Bird version using the Android logo, and with the release of Android Nougat, a cat-collecting minigame that lets you feed virtual pets from within your own notification tray.
Google Hangouts Easter Eggs
Hangouts’ Easter eggs are especially fun and useful—not only are the Easter eggs cute, but they can be shared between you, your friends, and other users around the world. 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. 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 every Easter egg we’ve been able to find in the 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. Note that sometimes these Easter eggs may not work on a particular browser, so if you run into a problem, try a different Easter egg.
(Need help starting a Hangout? Try this tutorial article.)
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. The color it chooses is random, however, so if you don’t like the first color, you’ll have to keep trying repeatedly.
- /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.
- /me: This command automatically submits your name into the chat. For example, if you write “/me likes this,” your friend on the other end will receive “(Name) likes this.”
- lolololol: Gives you a laughing yellow emoji.
- /zoidberg: We all loved Futurama during its airtime on both Fox and Comedy Central, and now you can bring it back with the /zoidberg command. Hangouts will automatically send a specialized ASCII version of Zoidberg doing his crab walk. We’re big fans.
- /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.
- /roll: using the /roll command allows you to roll a random die automatically in chat. By default, using /roll automatically rolls you a standard D6, but Google has made this command powerful enough that you can change the die you’re rolling by inputting the name of the die after it. For example, if you’re looking to roll a D20 for initiative in a game of Dungeons & Dragons, you can use /rolld20 to automatically roll a 20-sided die. The normal command will produce an output that reads “(Name) rolls a die and gets a (number),” but the side-specific rolls will instead tell you the number of sides rolled (“(Name) rolls a d20 and gets a (number)”). Finally, perhaps the coolest part of this: if you need to roll multiple dice, you can type /roll(number of dice)d(number of sides) to gain access to a total number. For example, /roll3d6 will automatically roll three six-sided dice, granting you a triple roll and automatically adding the numbers for you. The full dialogue reads “(Name) rolls 3d6 and gets 8. [ 6 1 1 ].”
- Crab: Want to impress your group with a friendly crab icon? Type V.v.V and hit enter to send a crab to whoever you’re chatting.
- /corgis: Let me know what’s cuter than a corgi and I’ll prove you wrong. Anyway, to produce an animated corgi on both sides of the chat, just type /corgis.
- The Konami Code. Old-school video gamers will remember the Konami Code as being a sequence of moves that would grant special powers to a video game character. Google loves the Konami code, and they implemented it in Hangouts. With your chat window open and the cursor in the chat, hit the following keys: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, and the Enter key. When you do this, the chat background changes to a lovely mountain scene.
- /this: Put simply, it produces this:
(Want to record your Hangouts conversation, including your special Easter eggs? Be sure to read our guide on how to record a Hangout! Or you might just want to learn how to share your screen with the other people in your Hangout.)
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!