Go to Google (don’t worry, I’ll wait). Type in “Thanos.” Click the little cartoon Infinity Gauntlet on the right side. Now sit back in horror as Evil Space Grimace snaps half of your search results into dust in the wind.
And just like Avengers: Endgame, the animation lasts for a while. The results disappear with an accompanying sound effect as the pages scrolls up and down, reliving the cliff hanger ending from the previous film.
Even Google is wary of Endgame spoilers
Google hasn’t stated how Thanos’s dusting algorithm works, but in our 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.