Google Timer is dead; long live BigTimer

Yesterday I made a revolting discovery: Google Timer has been quietly discontinued! For years and years, you used to be able to google a phrase like “5 minute timer” and receive — in a privileged position above the Google search results — a little JavaScript widget with a countdown. You could take this tab, pull it out into another little browser window, and stick it in the corner of your screen, to produce an on-screen timer counting down whatever you needed. In the context of a training course, it might be counting down the 30 minutes for a lab exercise, the 8 minutes for a coffee break, the hour for lunch… Having an easily accessible on-screen timer widget, visible to all the attendees, was fantastic.

Having an easily accessible way to do simple math is also fantastic, by the way. When I need to add up 1+3+50+43+27+4, I can just google it. This is usually easier than spinning up python in a terminal or whatever.

Well, apparently, as of July 18, Google Timer is gone! Now, when you google “5 minute timer,” you get a widget-free search results page: just a ton of bot-generated YouTube videos, “People also ask…” suggestions (prominently including Where is the Google Timer? and Did Google remove Timer?), and JavaScript timer apps with banner ads all over them.

According to 9to5google, the removal might have been an accident (what?), so maybe it’s coming back eventually. But until then, here are two potential replacements:

  • CppConTimer, originally written by Jon Kalb and myself. This is really intended for non-interactive use by the volunteer at the back of the room during a conference talk (CppCon and C++Now both use it), so it doesn’t spend any screen real estate on settings; everything is done by URL-hacking. And of course it doesn’t interrupt the speaker with an alarm noise, although it does change the text color and flash the screen several times as you approach zero. See the documentation.

  •, no obvious owner (but also no obvious banner ads, yet). This UI is pretty close to Google Timer’s — you can click on the digits to pause or reset the timer, and it makes a nice satisfying bwonggg noise at zero. This is what I’m going to be using in my classes from now on… unless I find something better.

Posted 2022-07-25