Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Do a barrel roll - Google Search (google.com)
486 points by ot on Nov 3, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 104 comments

Note the bug: "do a barrel roll" skyrocketed at the top of the suggestion lists for "do a ".

So if you have Google Instant enabled, just typing "do a " will instant-search "do a barrel roll" and trigger the effect.

I'm sure this wasn't intended.

I wonder if the barrel roll effect was intended for a Google Image search on "do a barrel roll" as well. The effect is much more prominent -- and annoying since you see the effect every time you navigate back. (I hadn't seen the meme, so I was browsing for images on it.)

oh yes and it is completely broken on Google Images, at least on my browser (Chrome): a few elements are misplaced during the animation, and it looks like the center of rotation is not the center of the page.

A barrel roll is an off center roll, so that part is probably intentional.

No, the center is off the page so the images are only on screen at the beginning and the end. It is a different effect from the web search one, or at least appears to be.

IMHO, this is not a bug but a feature. "do a barrel roll" is a trending topic today. So it must have been ranked higher in their search suggestions. The first query which is suggested when you say "do a" is "do a barrel roll" which causes the whole page to roll.

Pretty cool - I think we should be appreciative of such efforts rather than cultivating bugs. A standard experience is what Google had offered for years - can you even begin to imagine, what it would have taken for the Product Manager for Google Search to even convince everyone to get this implemented. And this is multiple teams you are talking about here (I am guessing at least 5-6 including engg, QA, monetization, legal, support, branding etc).

Considering the fact that Google has had such easter eggs for years* I don't think getting this one through was that hard.

* "ascii art", "what is the answer to life the universe and everything", "tilt", etc.

Actually, according to a recent Google blog post, this is exactly what should happen for hot trending searches. They tweaked the algorithm to make hot search topics bubble up in the suggestion box and return relevant results for recent news.

Of course, what I am saying is that as a side-effect the easter egg is triggered even if just "do a " is entered, rather than the full key-query.

That's why it doesn't make sense as an easter egg: "do a " is a frequent prefix, people looking for something else could be annoyed by the effect.

However, autocomplete will fill out the rest of the query for the user to see, so they should get a fair idea if they are paying attention... which they should be when the contents suddenly spins.

Yeah but presumably 'do a barrel roll' is intended as a kind of easter egg that only a select few will discover to their intense joy.

I was so delightfully surprised when I went to type it in, expecting something to happen, and it rolled halfway through my query. Awesome!

Definitely a bug since "ascii art" one doesn't work in instant search.

As far as Easter Eggs go, also: https://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=recursion

As far as Easter Eggs go, also: https://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=recursion

As far as Easter Eggs go, also: https://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=recursion

  File "<stdin>", line 1, in easter_egg
  RuntimeError: maximum recursion depth exceeded

That's why you need to do a CPS transform to transform every call into a tail call, and wrap the continuation up on the heap, so you don't blow out the stack.


As far as Easter Eggs go, also: https://www.google.com/search?pws=0&q=recursion

Compared to the barrel roll, perhaps less funny and more annoying.

However, equally nerd-heart-warming :)

Wow that just flipped my world around.

Kind of a funny optical allusion, but after looking at that tilted google page for a few minutes and then coming back to HN, it looks like HN is tilted too.

And, type "straighten" to fix it!

I just realized that such popular memes, contribute in eating away at Internet Explorer's market when they don't work on it. People who for months could not be bothered to even just upgrade to IE7 or 8, are now more than willing to download and install another browser, just to see google "do a barrel roll".

Except that those people may not realize what's going on. When I checked the page in my default browser, Opera, I saw nothing (Doesn't work in IE 9 either). It wasn't until I read through the comments that I figured I should try it in Chrome.

I suppose, however, that people that hear about it will probably have people telling them that it only works in Chrome.

Once they do see it though, they may see what they are missing. I'm using WebGL on Google Maps and it's awesome. Now if they can just settle on a nice standard that works in every browser.

works in Firefox btw ;)

Yep, an occasional HTML5 Easter Egg could nudge people to upgrade. How about a few written in WebGL?

Not that this couldn't have worked in IE9 (and Opera?) anyway if Google had used a few more CSS prefixes.

It doesn't work in Opera as well, and since I know Opera is an awesome browser, and such things do work on it if I "mask" it as Firefox, it only makes me avoid their services. One reason why I don't use Google+ at all is that the notifications don't work on Opera. But again, if I mask as Firefox, it work perfectly.

Nice. That's more of an aileron roll, though. A barrel roll has an accompanying corkscrew motion of your velocity vector along with the rotation.

Right, but it's a reference to the game, where Peppy says, "Do a barrel roll", but the actual maneuver that you can perform is a very fast aileron roll.

Funny, I never heard of that game. (Maybe it's because I fly flight simulators where a barrel roll actually is a barrel roll... ;-P )

I'm not sure I would call Star Fox 64 a flight simulator. I would recommend that you play it though :-)

Also try "stationary" on Google. That easter egg works on all browsers.

I don't get anything?

Well, the webpage isn't moving, so...it's stationary.

Right but where are the pencils and rulers?

You have to try "stationery" for that.

Coolest barrel roll in history http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vHiYA6Dmws

I know this isn't the original intent of the post, but this occured at a make or break time in Boeing's history and turned out to be a launching point for the company. If anything had gone wrong, Boeing would probably not exist today,

Interesting lesson in risk taking.


search for "askew" does the same thing as "tilt"

revert to pre-2009 layout

drats it didn't work


I'm assuming this is being noticed because of the recent ANA plane aerobatics : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aunUFwyxsF0 (spoiler : plane landed safely).

that was centrifugal, not gravitational force

Centripetal. Centrifugal force is imaginary.

Centrifugal is imaginary in a non-inertial reference frame (as the case is here), but is a "real" force otherwise.

There was a discussion on this exact subject recently on Reddit (/r/askscience) which might be interesting:


and the entry on Wikipedia:


The attention that this is getting is absolutely ridiculous. Do we not have anything better to do? :(

Only works in Chrome or Firefox, pretty fun :)

Works in Safari too.

And on the iPhone. Impressive.

and Midori

and Lynx, but with just 4 frames the animation is a bit choppy

I actually tried this to see if you were serious.

Would this barrel roll effect even be possible with a curses interface browser?

Doesn't for me in 5.1.1 (6534.51.22) or the latest WebKit nightly.

Strange, I'm on 5.1.1 (7534.51.22) and it's working here.

Nah, my Chrome crashes ^^ (Version 15.0.874.106 on 64bit Fedora)

a list of known Google Easter Eggs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_hoaxes#Easter_eggs

Happy to find that there's still a little humor left in the corporate world :)

It's probably a good publicity/user-karma boost that this has come out at this timing, right after the recent debacles with Gmail, Google Reader, and the iOS Gmail app. Definitely leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy inside!

Would be a good keyword to advertise on, startups!

Thanks for the idea! Done.

If you haven't seen it already, this is relevant. And hilarious: http://www.collegehumor.com/video/5633958/star-fox-in-iraq

Not working for me; I thought it might be https everwhere or the google https search option, but turning those off didn't produce the effect. Firefox 3.6.23 on Fedora 14.

A modern browser is required. Firefox 7?

no such luck for "do the dougie".

You can make this happen on any arbitrary page, just for fun.


This made me choke on my coffee.

For those who aren’t using a compatible browser: right after the page loads, a screenshot of your view of the page rotates 360° as if in a barrel roll. The page is then a normal, functioning Google results page.

It's not a screenshot, it's the actual page that rotates - you can click the links during the roll.

tilt works on opera but the barrell roll does not.

why is this news.

And wasn't there just a post about easter eggs being a thing of the past? Thanks Google for adding a little bit of fun to your product!

for those of you looking for a video:


Not working for me: Firefox 3.6.23 on Ubuntu.

You need HTML5 browser like Firefox 7.

This technology was demo'ed by SpotCapitan.com on HN a few months ago. So is Google ripping off cutting-edge front-end engingeering from startups now?

No money for labs, but this...

Labs wasn't about money. It was about moving away from half baked unmaintained releases and towards producing products that the company would be willing to support properly.

I read that as "moving away from half baked unanimated releases".

I can do this in 20 minutes, is just a little of CSS3 and an animate function (like the jQuery one)... so not so much money spent on this.

Love it!

I was hoping 'do a loop' did something as well.

Works on my iPhone.... niccceee

Thats super cool!

Google's new design is completely blocked to the users of non-popular web browsers. As a user of my own fork of a webkit based browser, I only see the old Google since Google thinks that my web browser is not modern.

What are you sending in your HTTP headers?

Is this Google's response to Siri? :)

Yes, because easter eggs didn't exist before the iPhone 4S.

What's the Easter Egg?

In the movie saga "Back to the future" the DeLorean time machine needs to travel at 88 mph and the flux capacitor needs 1.21 gigawatts of power in order to activate the time circuits.

There's still no Easter Egg on Google though - the search results for Back to the Future are there because they refer to those numbers.

I wouldn't call it an easter egg persay, I just find it funny it actually calculates it

Nice, but I wonder how much money Google are losing delivering the animation code for this easteregg with every results page, on the off-chance that someone types this query. I couldn’t find any sign of dynamic code loading in a cursory glance in the web inspector. Google Search’s source code is otherwise ruthlessly optimised for bandwidth savings.

It's a CSS transition in an inline <style> block. I imagine it's inserted dynamically with the results.

   body {
     -webkit-animation-name: roll;
     -webkit-animation-duration: 4s;
     -webkit-animation-iteration-count: 1;

Not to worry - this code is only included for this query. I can guarantee you this easter egg wouldn't have shipped if it had required supporting code to be present on every query, for the reasons you mentioned.

It's done with CSS:

body { -moz-animation-name: roll; -moz-animation-duration: 4s; -moz-animation-iteration-count: 1; -o-animation-name: roll; -o-animation-duration: 4s; -o-animation-iteration-count: 1; -webkit-animation-name: roll; -webkit-animation-duration: 4s; -webkit-animation-iteration-count: 1; }

I didn't know this existed -- CSS3? No javascript at work here? I didn't look at the web resources myself but I'm curious

Whatever money they're losing on this, they're probably regaining in terms of PR (which is much needed after their bad-karma with users lately with reader/gmail), and hence long term revenue.

It's a CSS3 transform. Code to the client is no more than a few bytes.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact