Should you be champing at the bit for more Avengers: Endgame-related anything at all now that you’ve seen the movie — and surely you are! How could you not be? — Google has stepped in with a very cute, very funny Easter egg.
The gag isn’t much, but it’s a sign that even the biggest search engine on the internet wants a piece of the Marvel pie. And it even suggests the spoiler culture that has reached its height in the lead-up to Endgame has dug its claws into Google, of all things.
The instructions to find the Easter egg are simple: Head to Google, and type in “Thanos.” Once you’re there, you’ll notice a familiar icon on the right sidebar, where the basic details about the character live.
Hey! It’s the Infinity Gauntlet. And you can click on it. Do that, and Thanos, the villainous wearer of the Gauntlet, snaps his fingers. His target: Google search results. A majority of the links on the page are dusted away, and Google even shows the total number of results ticking down post-snap.
Yup: He disintegrates millions of “lives” at once, just like what he does in Infinity War. The big difference is that these lives are pieces of code and text, not human.
Even Google is wary of Endgame spoilers
Google hasn’t stated how Thanos’s dusting algorithm works, but in Vox’s anecdotal experiences, the Infinity Gauntlet knocks out most of the top-trending results that concern any of Avengers: Endgame’s particulars. Instead, the post-snap “Thanos” search is littered with news about the Easter egg itself.
While this Thanos gag pays homage to the villain, then, it also functions as something of an automated spoiler guard. Following a leak of a few minutes from the film earlier this month, Marvel fans have operated on high-alert — including directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, who tweeted a statement requesting that anyone who had viewed the footage keep the details to themselves.
Now that Endgame is out, the window to stay clear of specifics is closing. It’s a window propped up by what Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff defined as a vehemently held, even paranoid notion of what constitutes a good viewing experience:
The worst thing about spoiler paranoia, I think, is that it preferences plot above all else. And I don’t think that’s a bad way to consume media, but once it becomes the guiding philosophy of not just those who consume media but those who think about it critically or even make it, then you end up with something like the production of Endgame, where Brie Larson has no idea what she’s doing or who she’s talking to.
So it’s nifty that Google is nodding to Endgame, undeniably an all-consuming piece of pop culture right now; it’s the big finale to a big storyline that one of the world’s biggest movie studios has built over a big, long, decade. But Thanos’s search result-evaporating snap is also something of another safeguard against the spoilers that fans fear.
The Thanos Easter egg is mostly a superficial precautionary measure, though; Google probably should make it a point to see Endgame as soon as possible, too, if it’s that afraid of finding out what happens.