What does the term "panfish interrogation" mean
to you? To the rightfully proud Doug Gray, it means
he scored in Googlewhacking.
Are you lost? Haven't heard about the latest
Googlewhacking involves finding two words that
result in a single, solitary result in Google. No
fair putting your two words in quotation marks,
which limits to an exact match. And your terms must
be real words. If you're interested, you can find a
list of successful whacks on the Googlewhack
If you're not interested, that's OK too. This
column isn't really about Googlewhacking. It's
about the plethora of uses and features of Google
that you've never heard about.
And also about a fascinating story of "gaming
Google"--which means manipulating it. Every
enterprise in the country wants to manipulate
Google, to be at the top of Google results. And
But an enterprising college student became
famous for his game: during the recent gulf war he
manipulated Google so that if you entered in
"french military victories" as your search term and
clicked the "I'm feeling lucky" button, it returned
a results page that asks: "Did you mean 'french
military defeats?'" You can read how he did it at
This is from the Google
Watch site, which, if you can believe it, is
critical of Google, insisting that "Google's
monopoly, algorithms, and privacy policies are
undermining the Web."
Interesting site, but I'm among the legions of
Google fans. And if you are too, you might try one
of the Google fan sites. I like the one titled
Fan. It's here that I learned that my beloved
Google News won a Webby award, beating out nominees
that included MSNBC and BBC News Online. (Check out
Award winners to find other great sites.)
Google Fan also has a great list of links to
other Google-related sites. These range from fun
sites to sites that teach you advanced Googling.
Among the fun sites are random site generators:
click the link and it randomly selects any one of
three billion web sites.
Or there's Googlefight.com.
You type in two opposing terms and let them fight
it out--that is, see side-by-side search results
and which had the most. Let's try "University of
Iowa" and "Iowa State University." And the winner
is . . . University of Iowa, 1.9 million to 1.7
Another great directory with a couple hundred
links is Google
Indicateur. It's here that I found the
Fudd version of Google. How did I ever get
along without that?
This site also has a link to Google
Labs, which is Google's testing area for new
offerings. One that's really cool is Google
Viewer. When you do a search, it gives you the
results as a sort of slide show. The site info is
in a small window at the top, and the site itself
appears as a slide. There's a control bar that lets
you govern the show, including the speed of
Another offering is Google
Glossary, which lets you find definitions for
words, phrases, and acronyms. A search in Google
Glossary returns a page of definitions that appear
on the web and refers you to related phrases. It
also lets you conveniently search the
Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Dictionary.com.
To get a sense for the broad range of offerings
of Google, go to Google's Tools
and Services page. Offerings include Froogle,
which is a price comparison search engine, and
Translate, which lets you translate text or web
pages from German, French, Italian, Portuguese, and
Spanish. It also lets you do searches within
specific languages or countries.
The coolest offering is Google
Web APIs. But only if you're a techie. Google
actually lets you use its database for free in your
own applications. That's one reason why there are
so many Google applications out there.
One of the best sites for seeing how this works
Hacks. Tara Calishain, a researcher, has
programmed a bunch of her own Google
implementations. Her Yellow Search provides a
simple and clean interface to access Google's phone
book search. Her Moogle feature lets you
conveniently search for movie reviews. You can even
stipulate whether you want it to look for positive
or negative reviews.
Whew, is there any doubt that Google is taking
over? Let's call it Google Culture. Heck, there's
even now a Google
Store where you can buy Google logo items.
Now back to my Googlewhacking . . .
© 2003 by Jim Karpen, Ph.D.