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20 March 2007

Google Personalized Homepage Easter Eggs

Google announced an update to their personalized homepage today, which allows users to select from six custom themes (or skins). I’ve seen several blogs report that Marissa Mayer hinted at some “Easter Eggs” hidden in the themes. Well, here are the ones I’ve found so far:

Beach City Scape Sweet Dreams Tea House Winter Scape Spring Scape

Update: 6 November 2007 (13:15)

Aja Tiger Autumn Hong Kong JR

Update: 18 December 2007 (22:15)

Holiday Village

Basically, the XML file for each of the “time skins” seems to contain a time-specific entry that will trigger at 3:14 AM – which is Pi to 2 decimal places, as shown in the sky of the “Sweet Dreams” theme – for what is presumably a duration of 1 minute:

 <time_entry>
   <hour>3</hour>
   <minute>14</minute>
   <duration>1</duration>
   <url>/ig/skins/sweetdreams/sweetdreams_3.14am.css</url>
 </time_entry>

I assume these are set to trigger when the user’s local time reaches 3:14 AM, but I can’t be sure. And there doesn’t seem to be an easter egg for “Bus Stop” weather skin.

I guess it’s possible these values might change too. If you’re really that bothered, you could monitor the XML files for each theme in case they make any changes:

Update: 6 November 2007 (13:15)

Update: 18 December 2007 (22:15)

Has anyone found any more?

Update: 21 March 2007 (20:11)

By the way, if you want to see any of the easter eggs without installing Greasemonkey or any other extensions, just paste this code into your browser’s address bar and hit enter (remove the line break though):

For Beach:
javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/beach/beach_3.14am.css");

For City Scape:
javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/cityscape/cityscape_3.14am.css");

For Sweet Dreams:
javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/sweetdreams/sweetdreams_3.14am.css");

For Tea House:
javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/teahouse/teahouse_3.14am.css");

For Winter Scape:
javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/winterscape/winterscape_3.14am.css");

For Spring Scape:
javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/springscape/springscape_3.14am.css");

In fact, you can replace the /ig/skins/sweetdreams/sweetdreams_3.14am.css part with any of the other stylesheets found in the XML files above if you want to see what the other themes look like at different times of day or during different weather conditions!

Update: 28 April 2007 (9:45)
Added the new “Spring Scape” theme and changed “Seasonal Scape” to “Winter Scape”.

Update: 6 November 2007 (13:15)

Added the new Aja Tiger, Autumn, Hong Kong, JR and Solar System themes. If you want to see the Easter eggs for these themes, here’s the code to paste into your browser’s address bar:

For Aja Tiger:
javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/tiger/tiger_3.14am.css");

For Autumn:
javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/autumn/autumn_3.14am.css");

For Hong Kong:
javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/hongkong/hongkong_3.14am.css");

For JR:
javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/JR/JR_3.14am.css");

For more information on how to enable the new themes if they’re not showing in your iGoogle homepage, see my post on Google Blogoscoped.

Update: 18 December 2007 (22:15)

Added the new Holiday Village theme. If you want to see the Easter eggs for this, here’s the code to paste into your browser’s address bar:

javascript:void(document.getElementById("ext_css").href=
"/ig/skins/holidayvillage/holiday_village_3.14am.css");

If you want to read about some Secret iGoogle Themes, see my post on Google Blogoscoped.

Labels:


26 Comments

Sucking the fun out again RUSCOE?
by Anonymous Anonymous  

correct me pls..
"or during different weather conditions!"

How does this work ?? is google using weather data for the css ? So if its snowing, the themese will reflect that mode ??

How does this work ?? is google using weather data for the css ? So if its snowing, the themese will reflect that mode ??

Yup. The Bus Stop XML file shows each possible weather condition: windy, cloudy, foggy, icy, rainy, stormy, thunderstorm, flurries, hazy, mostly cloudy and snowy.

That's currently the only one that changes based on your local weather conditions though.

thks for the clarification.

It would be great if they udr real time data like for the weather gadgey based on location, gto certan skins ..in this way the page also reflects real time scenario's..

For the Teahouse theme...

Whatever these are in the water

They're Japanese Ghosts, or Yokai. See the plate of snacks? Someone was hungry!

I'm using the bus stop theme now and have noticed the weather changes, however they were not correct. You can see the graphics and read about it here, Google custom homepage now has themes

It's a minor disappointment that on the Seasonal Scape the shadows do not move with the sun...

For the teahouse theme, between the lunch and duck feeding, I saw the fox using chopsticks and dining~ if that counts as .. something else.

I love the Teahouse theme. I've noticed just about all that's been pointed out. I stumbled across the Yokai one night, late, like 2am. Now I understand why the snack tray is on the dock.

At least to me, the other themes pale in comparison for dynamics.

Tony--you have any idea what the xml might be for the extremely brief teahouse pic which occasionally loads before the "time" pic loads? It's a birdseye view of the "forest" in which the teahouse is located. The following terms don't work: forest; opening; open; intro; introduction; overview.
Your whole blog on the themes is fascinating, btw.

i think i found an eclipse in the beach theme

I have the Yokai at around 11PM EST--so maybe it's not time related since others seem to see it at different times. I opened another window just a few seconds later and it was back to normal.

I agree with Kit, the teahouse theme is great!
by Anonymous Anonymous  

I have not yet seen the Yokai, although I do have a full plate of cookies on the dock late at night. Once I got up at 4:30 a.m. and the plate was empty!!!

And the point of asking Tony a question is?

Aw, shoot!! I'd Really Hoped he wasn't one of the many bloggers who love to amass comments but can't be bothered wasting their time answering them.

For an easier site for viewing the Tea House pics, go to
Idea Sandbox

And the point of asking Tony a question is?

Aw, shoot!! I'd Really Hoped he wasn't one of the many bloggers who love to amass comments but can't be bothered wasting their time answering them.


Give me some slack here winky2! I'm a busy man who gets tons of emails every day and it's easy to let the odd comment to my personal blog slip through the net. (And, as you can see above and elsewhere on my blog, I do occasionally "waste my time" answering questions, so it's a bit unfair of you to imply that I don't!)

Without a screenshot I wasn't entirely sure what you meant. I was going to refer you to this comment on the Google Blogoscoped forum but Brinke's Photobucket-hosted images to which I was referring no longer existed. Does that sound like it might answer your question though?

In addition to that site you've linked to, you might be interested in this site, which shows all the themes on one page.

Anyway, at least you'll know how to get a response out of me next time; just accuse me of being a blogger that loves to amass comments but can't be bothered wasting their time answering them again. That should make me feel guilty enough to waste my time replying to you! ;-)

Mea maxima culpa, Tony. I just got on to shut down MoFo at 1:30am & came back to give you another chance. Et, voila! Let's hear it for Guilt...

I'm not much of a blogger reader & even less of a poster b/c of having learned that few posted questions are answered unless one happens to be in on the original flurry of posts. But I got so intrigued by the "Tea House" thingy that I started surfing around, and you were WAY over anything in 2nd place. But I didn't realize--ok this is pretty dumb--that you've got a whole lot of other threads going.

So a) pls excuse dumbness, and b) thx for your civility and c) yes, you linked me to exactly what I was trying to learn, and d) HOW can you link someone to the correct PLACE on a page??? I can only ever link to the top of a page and say "scroll 2/3rds down". Such place-linking is TOTALLY IMPRESSIVE.

Well, to me, anyway, who got my 1st laptop/exposure to the Internet forced upon me by my geographically distant kids only 2 yrs ago, just before my 1st grandchild. I'm still proud of having gone from tell-me-again-how-I-turn-this-on to (basic) html & knowing what XML files are before #2 arrived this year.

Anyway, you don't have to answer d), but I do promise to keep checking back until, shall we say, g'child #3? Because after all, how could anyone get upset w/someone who is quite obviously one of the original Seven Up kids? (Which makes you a whole heck of a lot younger than me, dude.)

Thx and g'nite.

Tony, thanks for your comments on the eggs. I wanna know, have you read this?

http://www.devilwriter.com/my_savage_bride.php
by Anonymous Anonymous  

No worries winky2. We're all allowed to point the virtual finger from time-to-time on this Interweb thing... ;-) Anyway, to answer your question:

HOW can you link someone to the correct PLACE on a page???

That's down to the design of the website I was linking to. That forum allows you to link to what's called a "named anchor" by using a "#" in the URL. You can read about this on W3Schools if you're interested in gathering some more HTML knowledge to impress your kids!

Tony, found your blog on a search result on Google.

Thanks,
Traume
www.AdHotshot.com webmaster

New GreaseMonkey script to add Previous and Next links to step through different times for the same theme......http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/9010

:-)

I've been searching for the 'forest' image that appears in the Tea House theme once in a while when you do a browser refresh - I finally found it in the style sheet - it is a repeated image:

http://www.google.com/ig/images/skins/teahouse/2pm/header_tile.jpg

Love the Tea House, Foxy is my best friend on the Internet ;-)

Cheers!
- marc

JR has got to be the cutest thing I have ever seen!!! Has anyone noticed how the city gradually comes to like him during the day (helps when he cleans it with a broom)---then he defends the city from "Mecha-Jr" at night?
I have no idea about security concerns---but I would love to see JR do some more stuff.

Tony,

I tried this and I cut and pasted the text to reveal Easter eggs in the themes. Now I'd like to change it back but the theme is stuck on the Winter theme. I can create another tab, but I can't add any modules to it or any of my tabs. I can't delete any nonworking modules either.

Any suggestions for a fix?

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Sorry emkeane, I've never seen that happen before. Can you not just click the "Select theme" link and save changes? Failing that, maybe deleting your cookies might help -- although I'm sure these settings are stored in your Google Account rather than in your cookies.

In January 16, Google released open iGoogle theme design.

About the previous templates:

1) Solar System has a different css file for each solar system planet, even those not shown in the xml file. And is it just me, or the theme changed aspect ans the images are now not as tall as they were? Good change.

2) JR had several holiday images in December. From 1 to 15, and from 19 to 31, there were special images on the theme - even in those days not shown in the xml file.

3) There was a Countryside theme released. It looks like the carbon footprint theme.

Calliste, thanks for your comments. I actually made a post about the new iGoogle Themes Directory and API on Google Blogoscoped:

iGoogle Themes Directory Launched