Google does believe in Easter after all. Apparently after a late night of eating cake in Zurich, the Mobile App Team at Google felt the need to add a few extra “Bells and Whistles” to Google Mobile App. The kicker is they hid the menu to these features and “neglected” to tell anyone about it. Last week on News Years Day they came clean by announcing the moApp Easter Egg for the iPhone. The post entitled “Ring in the New Year with Bells and Whistles” on Google Mobile Blog gives a little back story and a general outline on how to enable this feature in Google’s moApp. I really hope the announcement was their way of continuing the Easter Egg tradition they started last new years.
For the record, the Bells and Whistles feature was discovered prior to last week’s announcement from Google, which is contrary to what some have already posted. Chris Messina of Citizen Agency (twitter @factoryjoe) posted his discovery on Waxy.org, the blog of Andy Baio the founder of upcoming.org. Chris noted the different options listed in the Preferences.plist xml file under the kGMOPrefGroupSecretSettings node on Nov 18, 2008 almost a month and half prior to Google’s 1/1/09 announcement and only four days after the release of Google moApp version 0.3.144 which included the Easter Egg.
Google’s post is a little vague on how to access or activate these new features. Since their post leaves a few unanswered questions I thought I would take a moment to put together a Step by Step guide on how to unlock the Bells and Whistles Easter Egg in Google’s Mobile Application on your Apple 3G iPhone.
Step by Step Guide to Opening Bells and Whistles Menu
- Tap the Google moApp icon on your iPhone. Visit the App Store icon on your iPhone and search for ‘Google Mobile App’ or visit the iTunes store if you do not have it yet.
- Tap on the Settings icon, located on the lower right hand side of the page.
- Here’s where the suggested perseverance from the mobile team comes in to play… once the Settings screen loads start flicking the screen in an up ward motion.
- Don’t stop until you see the new Bells & Whistles button appear below the About Button.
- Don’t give up! Based on my testing, it took about 100 short quick flicks before the button appeared. When I tried it again and it seemed to show up quicker if I did long sweeping stroke.
Bells and Whistles Summary
- Theme Color – Let’s you select a different theme color for Google’s moApp interface.
- Sounds – Let’s you change the feedback sounds when using the voice recognition search functionality. Your two new options are Chicken and Monkey. I went with Monkey.
- Live Waveform – Turning on Live Waveform displays the signal pattern of your voice as you are speaking into the iPhone while performing a Voice Search vs. showing you just the static pattern when analyzing your request.
- Open Links in App – This option let’s you open search result links within the Google moApp interface instead of launching Safari. This is the most useful feature contained within the Easter Egg. Unfortunately it this option does not seem to affect the links within the App area. Let me know if I’m doing something wrong.
I hope you found this helpful. I really do hope this is truly a new tradition for Google. If so, i’m look forward to next years New Year’s Easter Egg Hunt presented by Google.