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Google adds 'rainbow' search bar to mark gay pride celebrations

The 2011 Gay Pride Parade in Toronto.

Mark Blinch / Reuters

Google has added a colourful feature to searches for gay-related words to mark pride celebrations in Canada and around the world.

Users who type in several terms – such as "homosexuality," "lesbian," "transgender," "marriage equality" and "Stonewall" – see a rainbow search bar.

The hidden message, known as an "Easter egg", also pops up for queries related to gay-pride celebrations, including "Toronto Pride," "San Francisco Pride" and "New York Pride." But it doesn't appear for "Montreal Pride."

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The result, which colours the borders of the search box with the rainbow flag, appears in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, France, Germany, Poland, Spain and Israel, said Aaron Brindle, a Google spokesman. The feature will appear for 10 days or so before major gay rights events in each country, most of which are timed to coincide with the anniversary of the June 28, 1969, Stonewall riots, which gave birth to the gay-rights movement.

Google has previously featured other Easter eggs, but Mr. Brindle said the rainbow box, which has appeared in past years, appears for the widest variety of search terms.

For instance, the company has a long-running Easter egg for searches for the word "askew," which angles users' screens and renders the words uneven. It also has a special result for the term "zerg rush," a reference to the video game StarCraft. A search for "zerg rush" unleashes an army of Os that destroy the search results but also transform the screen into a game.

"Google enjoys surprising and delighting our users," Mr. Brindle said.

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