Last Wednesday, Google hosted a “Breakfast with Sundar Pichai” event for tech journalists and bloggers in San Francisco. Sundar Pichai is the senior vice president at Google and the head of Chrome (Google’s web browser) and Android (Google’s mobile operating system) development. At the event, Google unveiled the new Nexus 7 seven-inch tablet and its new operating system update Android 4.3 (codenamed Jelly Bean). During the event, Google surprised the journalists with a new video-streaming device called the “ChromeCast,” a tiny TV dongle that attaches to your TV to make it capable of streaming video from YouTube, Netflix, and Google Play. The people at Google are notorious for their hidden Easter eggs in almost every device or application they release, and the new Google ChromeCast is no different.
According to tech-repair site Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.” The serial number for Google’s ChromeCast is “Model H2G2-42.”
Of course, “H2G2” is the abbreviation for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the use of which was popularized by author Neil Gaiman as a chapter title in Don’t Panic and later by its online guide. And “42” is, of course, the answer given by the supercomputer Deep Thought when a group of hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings ask it for the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
Of course, the Google ChromeCast’s serial number could be a reference to the Douglas Adams science fiction series or it could be just a coincidence. Considering its specificity and Google’s penchant for Easter eggs, I can confidently say that it is a hidden reference.
Google likes to keep things interesting and fun with their products, applications, and devices. For instance, there’s the Barrel Roll Easter egg. Just go to Google.com now and search for the term “Do a Barrel Roll” and see what happens. Other Fortune-500 corporations should have this much fun with their products.
Douglas Adams created The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978. Since then, it has expanded to other formats including novels, comic books, computer games, and a full-length feature film.
Google priced the ChromeCast at a very competitive $35, and it works on various platforms such as Windows, Mac, Chrome, Android, and iOS devices. Hopefully, people who bought the new Google ChromeCast will “get” the Easter egg reference hidden on the back of the device, but most likely, like all the mysteries of the Universe, they will remain a mystery to those who don’t seek answers.
The Google ChromeCast is currently on back-order on Google Play, BestBuy.com, and Amazon.com