If you liked our list of useful things Google can do for you (if you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should), then we think you’d appreciate our much shorter round-up of useless things you can do on Google.
Read more: 14 useful things Google can do for you
While these might not be as nifty as setting timers or converting measurements, they’re still pretty fun and interesting, and will probably keep you busy on a slow day at work (or when you’re stuck in a long line on an admin run).
8 ways you can pass some time with Google:
Do a barrel roll
In all honesty, we don’t think we need this one, but type ‘do a barrel roll’ in the search bar, hit enter and watch your web search spin around. It’s like Google’s version of creating shapes on the home screen with your cursor.
Take to the skies
… and explore what space has to offer. With the help of Nasa’s Hubble Telescope, you can take a wander around the universe from the comfort of your own home with Google Sky. And while not everyone needs (or is interested) to know more about the night sky, this service is certainly more informative than it is useless.
Check out your favourite doodles
Haven’t heard of Google Doodles? Well, you’ve actually seen it plenty of times – it’s whenever the Google logo has been artistically updated to celebrate public holidays, events or famous people. If you get excited about the Google Doodles as much as we do, then you’ll love knowing that you can revisit them at any stage by clicking on the ‘I’m feeling lucky’ button under the search bar.
Change your font
If you’re bored with the search engine’s standard font, then you can head over to Google Font and switch it up a bit. Test out each font by typing a phrase in the different boxes for a little fun before you choose a font. Plus, you can download your chosen font if you really like it.
You can say goodbye to any work you hoped to do in the next hour – apologies in advance or you’re welcome (whichever one applies)…
Besides looking up the closest petrol station within 5km before you run out of fuel, you can also play a trivia game in Google Maps. Head over to Smarty Pins and test your geographical (and general) knowledge before you run out of kilometres. But please only play if you’re a passenger, we don’t want any drivers looking down at phones!
If you’re looking for something a little less intellectually taxing, try Zerg Rush. This is a good old-fashioned arcade game that pits you against little o’s that are trying to destroy the search page. Click on the o’s to make them disappear before they eat your entire page. To play the game, just type ‘Zerg Rush’ in the search bar and get clicking.
Remember Atari Breakout? Take a walk down memory lane by typing ‘Atari Breakout’ in the Google Image search bar. What a time to be alive!
Extend your trip down memory lane and check out Google from 1998. It will serve as a quick yet poignant reminder on how far Google has come (making this list of useless things even cooler), that exponential technology is awesome (read awe-inspiring), and that 20 years have gone by since then and now you’re old…
Showing off just how cool and self-aware it really is, Google has created a recursive easter egg that pops up whenever users enter ‘recursion’ into the search bar. Even if you’ve spelt the word correctly, Google will place ‘Did you mean: recursion’ at the top of the results page and it will never go away (even if you click on the hyperlink).
Reading out numbers
Ever needed to know how to say 276 500 310 467? Neither have we, but just in case you do have to stand up in front of a room full of people and read out a number 12 digits long, know that Google has your back. The search engine can convert up to 12 digit-long numbers into letter format. Type in the number you’re struggling with (no spaces) followed by ‘=english’ and then enter for an audible demonstration on how to pronounce it.
A features writer turned digital whizz – I’m a sassy nerd with opinions to share and a passion for finding the newest (and coolest) things around.