Let Google Rainbow Brighten Up Your Day

Written by Chris Arlington on . Posted in Articles, Funny Google Tricks

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There seems to be a bit of confusion about which Google Rainbow is the “actual” Google Rainbow. Let me set the record straight here, and then go on to look like an ass and talk at length about the “other” Google Rainbow. The actual Google Rainbow, the cool one that everyone wants to see and play with, is the javascript experiement by Haroon Baig. You can find it at his site here. Then there’s the significantly lamer google rainbow, which offers the dazzling (you’re getting the sarcasm in my tone here, right?) effect of colorizing the search results. Cue sad trombone. But I’m not going to player hate here, just because someone wanted to capitalize on the search is for Mr. Baig’s page. So let’s see if I can muster a little enthusiasm for this (knockoff) Google Rainbow (sorry – just couldn’t help one last jab). Google TricksGoogle Rainbow is probably one of the most upbeat Google pseudo-Easter eggs I’ve seen in a while. It gives you a nice, uppity feeling when you use it. But what exactly is Google Rainbow? It is simply a colorful way to perform a search on the famous search engine with a “splash of all the colors in a rainbow.” It is not created by Google itself (as with other “pseudo” Google Easter eggs), but by one developer and who happens to be a huge fan of Google who one day decided that the ultra-minimalist Google website was too barren for their taste. With Google Rainbow, you do not just perform a search, but a “Rainbow Search.” The usual “I’m Feeling Lucky” is also replaced with the more fabulous “I’m Feeling Colorful,” which I presume works in the same way as the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button. To access it, make sure that the Instant Search feature is turned off, then type “Google rainbow” in the search bar then click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button (if Instant Search is on, the first link on the subsequent results page (with the URL HYPERLINK “http://www.seetherainbow.com” www.seetherainbow.com) is the right link) . You are instantly directed to a “fabulous” version of the search engine. Somehow, Google Rainbow reminds me of the nascent years of the internet. I was trying it out the other day and a friend saw it and commented how the whole colorful, glittering scheme gives you that old school feeling of that marvelous time when smothering a webpage with animated GIFs was webmasters’ idea of “cool” and people used clunky modem boxes just to hook up online. You see, from the middle to the late 1990s (and maybe in the first few years of the new millennium), the internet relied solely on operating via dial-up modems—remember those clunky boxes that produced that odd electronic “alien” sound as it tried connecting to your internet service provider? The bandwidth then was so limited. In the early 1990s, we were already “very happy” with dial-up modems that could download at a 14.4 Kbps data rate. Imagine that—14.4 Kbps! That was the time I first started fooling around doing all sorts of stuff on the World Wide Web, so I could not really complain. But of course, other people who had been tweaking with bulletin board systems or other pre-World Wide Web means of online interaction as far back as the 1980s had to deal with much slower modems and much more expensive equipment. Then 28.8 Kbps and 33.6 Kbps were introduced into the market, and along with it, the gradual “improvement” in how websites or individual web pages looked. When finally the 56 Kbps modem became de fact by the late 1990s, things got a little more “interesting”: web pages became more and more colorful, while animated GIFs held sway. This little trip down memory lane is only due to what Google Rainbow reminds me of: those distant days of dial-up browsing, when the only “big things” you could see online were Yahoo and Amazon. Google was yet a flicker in Sergei Brin’s mind, whereas Amazon CEO (and, I would like to stress, tenacious visionary) Jeff Bezos was still “preaching” to everyone who had the guts to ask him why he was OK with his “online bookstore” not earning money in the first five years of its operation. In 1999, for example, I was part of one internet startup that tried to cash in on that so-called “dotcom bubble.” Well, at least, before the bubble eventually burst (and along with it, the hopes and dreams and cash of so many people), it was all fun. It was a medical website that tried to help people who had minor medical conditions or those who were “suspicious” of some disease they had or some “weird growth” in their body. The website actually employed real doctors—at least, doctors who had just earned their degrees and who had yet to choose any medical specialization. Such “green” doctors agreed to the relatively low salary more so because they found the concept exciting—they were fascinated with the idea of being able to provide consultation to all these people from around the world who just log on. They had to put up with a lot of the usual hypochondriacs, but mostly there were legitimate concerns, and you could imagine that the person on the other end of the chat box was really concerned that that little murmur in her chest or that dark brown spot on his arm might be “the big, final one.” There was even one case when one of the doctors was chatting with a “patient” who was trying to determine if she was having a heart attack—instead of going to an actual doctor, she had chosen to go online first, turn on the computer, switch on the modem, wait for a few seconds, then search for some website that could tell her if she was having a heart attack. It was insane, but as it turned out, the “patient” was right—the “sense of impending doom” was indeed the ominous beginnings of a heart attack, and our website’s online doctor was able to direct her to the right direction and call up an ambulance immediately. More than a week later, the said woman came online again to tell us how grateful she was that she found us. That single experience told the website’s proprietor that we were indeed on the right track. But then the bubble burst, and the rest, as they often say, is history. But during those several months when I was the editor of the website’s content department (which really merely consisted of just three people), I had my fair share of slogging through websites and content pages “glittering” with colorful images. There were no blogs then, and anything you found that resembled somebody’s personal page was most often crawling with all sorts of rainbow clip arts, multi-colored fonts and letters, and images that are framed by animated illustrations. Yes, those were the 1990s. And somehow, when you’re feeling blue, Google Rainbow may be able to bring you back for some dose of nostalgia.

About the author

Chris Arlington Christoph Arlington is Master Trickster of Search Kung-fu, Google Laffriots, and General Intarwebs Yuks at GoogleTricks.com. You can stalk him on and Twitter where his wit is even more razor-sharper (if that's even possible!). Since you asked, no, he wasn't born with an unholy infatuation with Google Tricks, but the world, as is its wont, turned him into a slightly mad, madly-obsessed Google voyeur. This site is his (physician-prescribed) steam-blowoff.

Chris Arlington

Chris Arlington

Christoph Arlington is Master Trickster of Search Kung-fu, Google Laffriots, and General Intarwebs Yuks at GoogleTricks.com. You can stalk him on and Twitter where his wit is even more razor-sharper (if that's even possible!). Since you asked, no, he wasn't born with an unholy infatuation with Google Tricks, but the world, as is its wont, turned him into a slightly mad, madly-obsessed Google voyeur. This site is his (physician-prescribed) steam-blowoff.

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