An Easter Egg is an unexpected surprise -- an undocumented procedure or unauthorized feature that's playful in nature or gives credit to the software developer or chip designer. Like their namesakes, Easter Eggs can be quite elusive and hard to find.
Here is a very simple example of an Easter Egg.
1. Go to Google.com
2. Type do a barrel roll in the search bar.
Other popular Google Easter Eggs include:
- Type solitaire in the search box and play the game.
- Type tic tac toe in the search box and play the game.
- Type anagram in the search box and check out the "Did you mean" suggestion. (An anagram is a word or phrase that's formed by rearranging letters)
- Type Google in 1998 in the search box to travel back in time.
Microchip art is another type of Easter Egg. In the example to the left, the chip designer added a buffalo and four dots representing "buffalo chips" to the design. (A buffalo chip is manure that has been dried so it can be used for fuel.)
Although Easter Eggs are intended to be harmless, any undocumented source code can pose a security risk. For this reason, many software companies forbid programmers from adding Easter Eggs or require Easter Eggs to go through normal source code testing.