Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Endangered Internet Species

Who here remembers the Google Whack? There are many variations on the Google Whack, but the way I've always played is that you must enter two words, no proper nouns, without quotes, into the google search engine producing a search with 1 google hit. That's the purist form. Other variants allow proper nouns, and in another, the goal is to get as many hits as there are characters in the two words.

At its onset the Google Whack was an extremely rare phenomena, but you could do it, if you knew a handful of obscure words and some chemistry terms. But like the unicorn, the Google Whack is and was an endangered species. Sites emerged that collected them, and news outlets did stories on them, but of course once they were recorded that Whack ceased to exist. Other websites emerged that seemed to simply catalog vast swatches of words. Google Whacks are a web phenomena that may soon be extinct. If it's not already. I haven't thought about them in a while. In fact, the last I found was a few years ago. On 8/3/06 I found this gem:

popsicle triskaidecagon

The same google search today yields 19 hits. This is compared to

Methuselah bobbysocks

(yes, I know I broke my own rule and used a proper-noun) which was once a Google Whack and now inexplicably yields 448 Google hits. has what they claim to be an up-to-the-minute and unindexed Whack List, and yet I've tested several of them and not one of those supposedly fresh whacks is even below the century club, several have more than 1000 hits.

... Anyway, yesterday I was using Google image search to find illustrations of emotive monkeys. There are plenty of enraged, happy, sad, and even "sarcastic monkey" (with quotes in the search) yields 400 hits. But a search for "sardonic monkey" yielded a singular hit (not even of a monkey), it's own sort of Google Whack.

Honestly, I'm surprised, I suspected by now monkeys and monkey illustrators would have uploaded images with titles covering all possible monkey attitudes. However, without the quotes sardonic monkey yields over 10,000 hits.

If you're hunting a Google Whack I've found in the past that you should

1) avoid words that could be near each other in the dictionary
2) avoid common favorite words like defenestrate
3) pair two words from two radically different highly technical professions
4) pair something innocuous with a highly technical term
5) pair a word no longer in common usage with a highly technical term

Can you find any Google Whacks, traditional, or your own variation?

If you find a true google whack you can post it in the comment section with dashes between the letters so as to preserve the thrill for future Whackers. Honorable mentions for single digit returns, or for bizarre word combos that return far more hits than expected.

Happy Hunting!


Progeny of Trystero said...

First try: ansible bobbysocks - 6 comments

Progeny of Trystero said...
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