Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” and both Facebook and Google decided to add some magic to the day and celebrate Potter’s birthday in their own ways.
Facebook surprised its users Monday with a neat trick: Adding “Harry Potter” or the names of any of the four houses of Hogwarts to any Facebook post, and then clicking on that name, automatically unlocked a magic wand that spewed flashing lights and smoke clouds all over one’s Facebook page.
As a bonus, each house was automatically printed in the right color. Potter’s own name showed up in red, given that he’s a member of Gryffindor.
Google went a bit of a different route for its Harry Potter birthday celebration, and decided to take fans of J.K. Rowling’s magic universe on a Google Earth tour to the places that inspired Rowling and the producers of the Harry Potter films, and now often have become places of pilgrimage for Potter fans.
These include not only London’s King’s Cross station, but also the real-life castle that was used as Hogwarts in the first two films, the film set of the Hogwarts dining hall and more.