Some days you want to just search for something online, others you want a goofy, Technicolor, dancing version of a search engine. And that’s where Google Loco comes in. One common phenomenon accompanying the success of Google has been the proliferation of Google parody sites or joke sites.
The setup is based on the Google Custom Search Engine, which is a way to take the Google search engine, embed it, and tailor it to fit your own website. It’s a common feature on many websites, but in the case of parody sites, web designers will take the custom search bar and rebuild the design of the Google homepage to fit the theme of the site.
There are all kinds of mocked up Google homepages, but one of the more popular ones is “Google Loco.” You can get there a couple of ways. First you can type in the URL directly into the browser: http://www.googleloco.com .
But it’s also something of an “I’m Feeling Lucky” trick, because if you load in the search terms “Google Loco” and hit the I’m Feeling Lucky button, the search will take you directly to the joke site.
The site itself has a couple of fun features. For one, and most immediately noticeable, instead of the Google logo, the words “Google Loco” appear in its place, although in the same signature font and color scheme that make it a pretty good imitation. Not only that, but the letters are doing a fun little dance. They look a bit like they had too many drinks at the company Christmas party, or they are waiting in line to use the bathroom. It’s cute.
Below the search bar, there’s a mock up of the two usual Google buttons, but instead of Google Search, it reads “Loco Search” and in place of the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button it says “I’m Feeling Loco.”
There’s another key feature related to the search bar itself. Start typing in the bar, and the colors of the field and the letters themselves change colors with each new letter typed. Type fast and they flash like a Pink Floyd laser show. Type slowly, and see the new color scheme one letter at a time. It’s a pretty impressive range of colors, more elaborate than the typical Google letters.
For all the fun of Google Loco, the search results leave a little to be desired. The swearch results return on the same page as the loco logo (as any custom search results will), so all but one of your results fall below the page fold. Not an especially bracing user experience. Once you get past the ads, you’ll find that the results are all from within the google.com domain itself (again, (as any custom search results will). So on a search for, for example funny google tricks you’ll get a result about how to avoid phishing scams. Alas, as good as Google may be at crawling the web, these results are not exactly pertinent. The tabs for Image, Video and News searches do offer a wider array of results from around the web.
The fine print at the bottom of the google loco page makes it clear the site’s not affiliated in any way with Google, and offers some trademark language to appease the subject of the joke.
There are some other Google Loco imitators, like http://www.googleloco.mx (Google Loco in Spanish), and http://www.googleloco.info that gives you the option of customizing the Google logo. And if you really love the original, you can even like its Facebook page.