A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away … one of the Web’s most powerful companies unleashed a series of fun tools to show their excitement for the upcoming “The Force Awakens.”
As every “Star Wars” fan knows, any great story begins with an opening scroll of yellow words fading away into outer space. It’s only appropriate, then, that Google has unveiled a nifty new Easter Egg.
If you Google the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away” the search results appear as a “Star Wars”-themed visual that scrolls off into the stars. The trick doesn’t seem to work with Firefox — but Safari, Chrome and other browsers will bring a smile to your face.
But wait, because it doesn’t stop there. You can also personalize your Google experience to either “Dark Side” or “Light Side,” settings that will then apply for Gmail, YouTube and other Google properties. To pull off that nifty trick, make sure you’re using Chrome and logged in; go to google.com/starwars and then choose your side.
Google vice president of product management Clay Bavor cited “Star Wars” as the first film he ever saw, announcing on Google’s official blog that additional features would be launched between now and the release of JJ Abrams’ film. “We reached out to our friends at Lucasfilm and Disney, and since then we’ve been working together on building google.com/starwars,” he says.
“It’s a place for fans, by fans, and starting today you can choose the light or the dark side, and then watch your favorite Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome and many more transform to reflect your path. And that’s just the beginning.”
The coolest “Star Wars” feature, however, may be a “spoiler blocker” that you can install as a Chrome extension. It claims to scan every page as it loads in your browser, and if it spots any “Star Wars”-specific terms, it will cover the page with a scrolling “Star Wars” logo and the warning “potential spoilers ahead.” At that point, it’s your choice to proceed or close the page and remain spoiler-free.
The only problem is, that last feature isn’t an official Google product — and according to Mashable it is ineffective enough to constantly remind you of that fact. Tests of the Chrome extension had it blocking pretty much every news site, since so many Internet destinations these days have some mention of “Force Awakens” news. The extension also takes long enough to load that it gives your eyes enough time to see any spoiler-heavy headlines.