Before reading any further, open a new browser window, type “Zerg rush” into its Google search bar, and hit enter. Trust me.
Done? Okay. If you’re familiar with StarCraft, a ridiculously popular series of real-time strategy games that have spawned professional leagues and televised tournaments, you’re probably giddy with delight. If not, you may be a little confused. Let me explain.
The Zerg are an alien race in these games. Their favourite tactic is to crush opponents with sheer force, sending everything they’ve got at a base in hopes of delivering a swift, killing blow. Gamers refer to this strategy as a Zerg rush.
Right now, when you Google the term “zerg rush," it will initiate a Zerg-like assault on your browser. A swarm of Os will emerge from the side of the screen and begin whittling away at little health bars above search results and side bar content, as though these boxes of text were units in a game.
It’s not just a cute animation. It's interactive. You can defend your browser window by clicking on the Os as they appear, defeating each one with a few swift taps.
Alas, as is often the case when attacked by a horde of Zerg, it is a hopeless battle. There’s no end to the little buggers. However, your score and the number of actions you perform per minute (a key RTS stat) are tracked in a box on the right of the screen and you can share them on Google+ once you’ve lost.
It may simply be a clever little promotion for Google's social network service, but Easter eggs like this help restore my faith in the search giant's “don’t be evil” motto. It's slated to last just a day, so have fun with it while you can.