November 09, 2003

Helpful Google

Cinderella Bloggerfeller shows how to have a Pythonesque conversation with Google [via Languagehat]. His elegant example

Search entry:hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Helpful Google: Did you mean: hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ?

is easy to generalize:

Search entry: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Helpful Google: Did you mean: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ?


Search entry: ooooooooooooooooooooooo

Helpful Google: Did you mean: oooooooooooooooooooooooo ?

Slight variations on the theme also work:

Search entry: gaaaaaaaaaa

Helpful Google: Did you mean: gaaaaaaaaa ?

Sometimes Google is oddly unsympathetic. For example, strings of repeated "aiaiai..." return actual pages right up to 24 ai's, which gets three hits including


Chemistry exam in two hours!!!!


but when asked about 25 ai's, Google just responds coldly

Your search - aiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiai - did not match any documents.
No pages were found containing "aiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaiai".


- Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
- Try different keywords.
- Try more general keywords.

Also, you can try Google Answers for expert help with your search.

Posted by Mark Liberman at November 9, 2003 05:47 AM