Man, being a developer at Google must be pretty sweet. While most of us run around like maniacs trying to maximize the too-few hours we have in a day, the only priority for a Google dev is finding new ways to fill up all those vast expanses of "me-time." We know this is true because these devs seem to have so much free time in which to concoct needlessly intricate pranks and plant little hidden Easter Eggs throughout the greater Google-verse.
Poke around, they're ev-er-y-where. And so why would we expect anything different from the devs behind Google's poly-platform messaging system, Google Hangouts?
Indeed, inside Hangouts, users will find a bevy of hidden (and occasionally crudely rendered) animated scenes referencing common IM-speak and seemingly nonsensical inside jokes. (You'll see what we mean.)
Before we get started, we should note that you can only access these little tricks if you are using Google Hangouts via your mobile device (available on Android and iOS), a browser extension (available on Chrome and Firefox), or directly from Gmail.
As long as you have Gmail, you can access Hangouts (note: Gchat is not the same as Hangouts)—just click your profile photo at the top of you chat list and then click "Try the new Hangouts." Your browser will refresh and you'll be good to go. (And don't worry, if you hate it for some reason, you will have the option to switch back.)
Click through our slideshow for (occasionally very specific) video pointers on how to unlock all the Hangout animations we were able to find.
Try typing woot
and you'll be met with a little yellow animated character who crawls up the window in the center or on the far left or some kind of fox creature who appears to be wearing a straw hat with a little white bird on top. The prompt appears to randomly pick from a pool of three different animations.
Also try yay!!
. Note: the "yay" must be followed by two exclamation marks. Also works with Hooray!
(in this case, it must be followed by at least one exclamation point). You can also use woohoo
or woo hoo
2. Happy Birthday
Type happy birthday
and you will see one of the following happen: 1) a little present will pop up and the little yellow guy will pop up, 2) the fox will come in from the right pulling a birthday cake out of which will pop a little white bird or 3) a birthday cake will pop up in the center.
Alternatively, happy bday
and happy b-day
work as well.
3. Hahahaha or hehehehe
Note, this must type ha or he four
times in a row—either ha ha ha ha
(on one line—no returns in between) and it will present one of the following animations: 1) The fox and the bird pop up in the center wearing silly costumes and laugh at each other or 2) the little yellow blobby guy will start cracking up on the right, left, or center of the screen.
Also works with lolol
. Note: This must be "lolol"—a regular three-letter "lol" will not prompt the animations. The animation will also be prompted by LMAO
, and meowwwww
. Note: meowwwww must include five w's to prompt the animation (H/T to commenter Luke Walker for that one).
4. /ponies + /ponystream
If you type /ponies
. it will prompt a very My Little Pony-like mare to gallop across the screen. This will actually not show the word /ponies
, it will just send the animation. Note that the prompt must be in all lowercase and you and the person on the other end may not see the same exact horse animation—there appear to be a good half-dozen horses to cycle through.
One galloping pony not enough for you? How about a STAMPEDE! To create this effect, type in /ponystream
for an unending parade of ponies. To turn it off (and trust me, you'll want to turn it off), simply type it again. Note: it seems that this animation only appears on the screen of the person who typed it.
Like /ponystream, the /shydino
prompt will not show any of the words in the screen and will only work in lowercase. This one will prompt a little orange house. And then a little green dinosaur (or what they're calling a "dinosaur" anyway—some kind of blobby green creature) will gallop on from the right side of the screen and hide behind the house. And that's it. If you want the dino to go away, just type the prompt again and *poof* he's back to being extinct.
Tired of that boring white background? Try typing /bikeshed
and it will change the color of your background (and that of your buddy) to some random hue. Note that you won't be seeing the same hues and you can't easily go back to the default—you will have to close your window and re-open it.
Like the other animations, this must also be lowercase. If you type /pitchforks
, you will prompt either one big mob of angry pitchfork- and torch-wielding townspeople or a steady stream of angry townspeople running across the screen one at a time. Note: the steady stream can go for a while, but will run out eventually. If you get sick of it, you will have to close and re-open your chat window.
8. Konami Cheat Code
If you played Nintendo at all back in the day, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a
is surely burned into your gray matter. It also works in Hangouts. Don't actually type the code
—punch in the code
via your keyboard arrows, the "b" and "a" at the end won't register (and they must be lowercase). Hit enter and it will change the background to a NES-y nature scene. If you want to get back to your normal screen, then you will have to close and re-open the window.
9. Go For a Combo
And they all seem to work together. Go nuts.