Google’s 20th birthday: 20 hidden Chrome features to discover

From animal noises to the meaning of life, these little-known gems are just a click away

Pac-Man is among several games that can be played through Google

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the birth of what would become the world’s most popular search engine.

Since its launch by Larry Page and Sergey Brinin in September 1998, Google has grown from a small internet firm based in a Californian garage to a multibillion dollar corporation that employs more than 85,000 people.

However, while just about everyone on the planet knows how the service works, some users may have missed a host of games and mysterious features that are just a search away.

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To celebrate two decades of Google, here are 20 hidden features you might not have known existed:

1. Heads or tails

Type “flip a coin” into the search bar for a quick game of heads or tails - an easy way to settle disputes or make decisions, with the added suspense of an animation of a coin spinning before it lands.

2. Atari Breakout

If you’re a games fan, type “Atari Breakout” into the search bar and click the first link. Now you can play the retro video game in your browser.

3. Google gravity

Search for “Google gravity” and click the first link to watch the search bar and tabs tumble to the bottom of the screen.

4. Original Google

Typing “Google in 1998” gives the search site an old-style makeover.

5. Patience

Search for “Solitaire” to play classic card game patience online.

6. Snake

The Snake mobile game, popular on Nokia phones in the 1990s, can be played through Google by searching “Snake”.

7. Pac-Man

Pac-Man can also be played through your browser. Just search “Pacman” in Google to play Namco’s arcade hit.

8. Tic Tac Toe

Type “Tic Tac Toe” into the search bar for a game of noughts and crosses.

9. Error 418

Users who type “” into their web browser’s address bar will get an obscure error message: “418. I’m a teapot. The requested entity body is short and stout. Tip me over and pour me out.”

10. Animal sounds

Hear different animals by typing in “animal sounds”.

11. Bletchley Park

Typing “Bletchley Park” into Google momentarily jumbles the location’s name, in homage to the World War II codebreaking experts who worked at the Buckinghamshire estate.

12. The meaning of life

There’s also a homage to Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Typing in “what is the answer to life the universe and everything” results in an image of a calculator with the number 42 in the answer bar - a reference to the answer given by the Deep Thought supercomputer when asked the same question in the comedy sci-fi series.

13. Speed test

To see how fast your internet is, type “speed test” into the search bar to see a readout of upload and download speeds.

14. Did you mean recursion?

Typing “recursion” - the act of getting stuck in a loop - into the search bar will prompt Google to ask “did you mean: recursion?” repeatedly.

15. Breathing exercise

Searching for “breathing exercise” will bring up one-minute clip that guides the user through a respiratory technique.

16. Google underwater

Watch the Google search bar float on water by searching for “Google underwater” and selecting the first link.

17. Google Tilt

Type “askew” into the search bar and click the first link. The home page will transform into Google Tilt, where everything is at a slight angle.

18. Define anagram

Search for “define anagram” and you will be asked “did you mean: nerd fame again” - an anagram of “define anagram”.

19. Zerg rush

Watch small dots eat away search results by typing “zerg rush” into Google. If you don’t delete them, they will form together to spell “GG”, meaning “good game”.

20. What is the loneliest number?

Searching for “what is the loneliest number?” brings up an image of a calculator showing the answer: one.

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