The Google search engine has, in a short time, become one of the most popular search engines on the Internet. Such is its popularity that several enterprising individuals have created games that can be played on, or with, Google. The nature of some of these games is that before the advent of Google they simply could not exist: they are the product of Internet culture and the twisted minds that inhabit it. This is not to say that Google itself is devoid of a certain amount of fun. Try searching for ‘the answer to life, the universe and everything’, for example.
I’m Feeling Lucky
Another interesting feature of Google is the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button. Clicking on this will take you directly to the first result found for your search. The phrases ‘French Military Victories‘ and ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ both yield amusing results if you’re feeling lucky. (This was correct at the time of writing – the page that used to be displayed for this search is here)
Most intriguing though is the word ‘elgoog‘. It doesn’t take much work to realise that this is just ‘google’ backwards. If you type it in to Google and hit the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button, then the site you will arrive at is just that – Google backwards. A complete mirror image of the Google site front page, and it is actually a working search engine itself. But bear in mind that if you want to get any meaningful results from it you will have to type in your search criteria backwards! To end your elgooG experience, type in ‘elgoog’ and hit the ‘ykcuL gnileeF m’I’ button, and you will be painlessly returned to Google.
Type two words into Google and search for them. If your search returns one, and only one, page then that page is a googlewhack. The two words need not be related. In fact, the less related the words are the more likely they are to result in a googlewhack. For example, the words ‘pahoehoe’ and ‘curmudgeon’ may result in a googlewhack when put together. However, if they did, they now don’t, as they now appear on this page as wel1.
Dave Gorman was told that his site contains a googlewhack. Discovering this started him off on other of his famous journeys. He aimed to create a chain of ten googlewhacks, visiting the people that created the sites on which each googlewhack is found, and getting them to find another googlewhack for him. The plan was to do all this before he turned thirty as, to his mind, he would then have to turn sensible and stop doing all this silly stuff. His adventures became the subject of his 2003 Edinburgh Festival stage show, and his book Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure.
As Google also has a facility that allows you to search images, it is possible to googlewhack these as well. But be careful, as there are some very, very strange pictures out there!
Though googlefight could be played direct on Google, there is a googlefight website that makes the game easier. The idea is that you pick two separate words or phrases and see which one brings up the larger amount of search results from Google. The word or phrase with a bigger number of results wins the fight.
The googlefight website allows you to enter both words or phrases at the same time, compares the results, and declares the winner. Some googlefights can give interesting results: try ‘Luke Skywalker’ versus ‘Darth Vader’, ‘Tony Blair’ versus ‘Michael Howard’, or ‘The People’ versus ‘Larry Flint’. Unsurprisingly, ‘Kramer’ versus ‘Kramer’ results in a draw.
While it is a completely separate website to Google, Googlism searches through Google to find out what it ‘thinks’. Input a few words (the names of work colleagues, for example) into Googlism, and it will find out what Google (or more precisely the pages linked to through Google) say about them. It can be highly amusing at times, and at other times is just inane.