Beyond the barrel roll: Google's Easter eggs

This week's popular Google stunt, a spinning interface that appears with a search for "do a barrel roll," is only one of many Easter eggs from the company.

Google Earth has a built-in flight simulator. It helpfully offers to start you out at Kathmandu for some exciting views of the Himalayan mountains.
Google Earth has a built-in flight simulator. It helpfully offers to start you out at Kathmandu for some exciting views of the Himalayan mountains. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

The Google "do a barrel roll" search caught plenty of attention this week--but it's only one of many Easter eggs the Internet giant has hidden around the Web.

The company has been doing things its own, often nerdy way for years--basing its IPO price on e, the base of natural logarithms, for example, or showing pi in the sky at 3:14 a.m. with the right iGoogle theme. Also popping up are references to classic video games, science fiction books, and Lego.

It's a nice touch that gives a bit of personality to a company that has grown to become an Internet juggernaut of formidable influence. Some Easter eggs have come and gone--the Google Maps "pegman" mascot donning a tie-dye shirt when placed on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, for example, or the moon being made of green cheese. But many more live on.

Click through to the gallery below to see a collection of many of the amusements Google has built into its products.

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