December 31, 2003
Google Game of the Moment
Googlelacks! Sigh. I always thought this idea Ranjit and I came up with deserved its own page, or maybe even its own site, but it's been half a year and I haven't gotten around to it so I probably never will...maybe because it lacks a really cool name and a way of objectively judging the results. Anyway, in the spirit of Googlewhacks, its (for lack of a better name) Googlelacks: using Google to find variants of clichés. For this, you need to make use of three Google features: putting a phrase in quotes, using the * to show what word you expect to be replaced, and using - to exclude what usually goes where the * is. For instance:

"good * make good neighbors" -fences

brings up farmers, spies, minefields, friends, defenses, borders, nukes, nights, and smokestacks making good neighbors, and that's all on the first page. 720 in all, though some of those are repeats.

"one * to rule them all and in the darkness" -ring

(I had to cut out the end of the phrase, it was getting too long) comes up with blacklist, key, bowl, OS, spam, browser, and meat. 613, again counting with duplicates.

Anyway, it's a fun game to play. Try it and post any cool phrases you come up with on the Comments section. (Anyone know if there is there a name for the kind of cliché-play that this game digs up?) If I get enough feedback on this sport, and a suggestion for a name, maybe I'll try to make a page for it. (Huh, since Google opened up their site as a webservice for developers, maybe I should make a handy interface to count unique word substitutions...then there would be a way of keeping score.)