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Google’s ‘do a Barrel Roll’ Sends the ‘net into a Spin

Posted on the 04 November 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Barrel Roll plane

Google will barrel roll for you if you you ask it. Photo Credit: ARTS_fox1fire,

Twitter has gone crazy over Google’s latest ‘Easter egg’: Enter into Google the phrase “do a barrel roll” and watch your favorite search engine perform a 360-degrees spin (apparently — it didn’t work for this Periscope Post reporter — some advise Google Chrome for best results). The cool function is apparently a reference to Nintendo’s Star Fox: you can also get it to perform if you search “z” or “n” twice — the command buttons that effect the maneuver in the N64 game.

Awesome? Weird? Here’s what the commentariat had to say:

Captivating. Chris Matyszczyk over at tech blog CNET called it “the most mindlessly enjoyable four seconds of your day”.

One of many ‘quirky themes’. The Daily Mail compared it to graphics that appeared on Monday, when the site “utilised six enormous pumpkins to spell out its name in celebration of Halloween”. However, Ben Parr for Mashable pointed out that it wouldn’t work on all browsers, as it is based on HTML-5.

Don’t forget the other ‘Easter eggs’! Helen A. S. Popkin on MSNBC’s Technolog blog pointed out that Douglas Adams fans would be amused to hear that Google the answer “42” if one types “answer to life, the universe and everything” into the search engine and that the search “ascii art” yields an ASCII-rendered version of the Google logo. Commenters on Parr’s Mashable art pointed out that typing “askew” or “tilt” into Google will tilt the page.

That’s not a barrel roll! Popkin pointed out in an update to her Technolog article that Ted Rea Jr. (appropriately: “this guy I know from Facebook”) wrote to her: “I hate to break it to Google and you guys, but that actually isn’t a barrel roll” and provided an illuminating graphic. Touché Mr. Rea, Jr.

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