Saturday, April 07, 2007

Google Games

As it is a holiday weekend and generally the weather is not too good in many places, it occurred to me that some people may be stuck inside. With this in mind, it seems like a reasonable time to post about some of the fun that can be had with Google.

Send a Text Message
Text messaging is all the rage in Europe. It is also becoming more and more popular in North America. Unfortunately, not all mobile phone plans provide free or very cheap text messaging services. For example, on my plan I can receive text messages for free, but I have to pay to send them. Fortunately, there is a Google tool which can be used to send a text message to most US cell phones. If you go to http://www.google.com/sendtophone you can send a text message for free! If I want to send a text, this is the tool I use. It is also much easier and faster to send a text from a computer keyboard, rather than trying to type it into a cell phone. One thing to remember though is that using this technique does not let the receiver know who sent the message, so do not forget to identify yourself.

Google Whacking
This is an odd nerdy game, but can be quite fun. There are a couple of versions of this game.

In 'Google Whacking Lite', the goal is to find some combination of words that will produce exactly one and only one hit on Google. There is no prohibition on how many terms one can use, or requirements that things like "double quote marks" not be used. It can still be quite a challenging game. I had some success playing this by searching for "neural network" "washing powder" "singer songwriter". This generated a single hit, today. Of course, as soon as Google indexes this page, this will no longer work.

The over version is 'Google Whacking Extreme'. This is similar to Google Whacking Lite, but only two words can be used and things like "double quote marks" are prohibited. This is a very tough game. Somewhat bizarrely, there is even a web site dedicated to this version of the game. It cam be found at http://www.googlewhack.com/. The odd thing about this page is that any successful Google Whack combination will automatically generate an additional hit, when Google indexes this page. Thus, this is a bit self-defeating.

Other Google Games
Finally, there is a page that is dedicated to a variety of other Google games. It is located here. I have not tried all the games, but the ones I have looked at seem pretty reasonable. This is not the only page with Google games on it. More games can be found here. These pages and activities may provide a way to while away a few holiday hours, if you have nothing better to do and the weather is nasty. Enjoy.

The CP

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