April 12, 2011 at 11:08 AM ET
Some people can't get enough of trivia, and for those folks, Google a Day will probably feel like a lot of fun, especially since this new game makes you use the search engine to find answers.
For the rest of us who need to Google answers, this daily dose of trivia could be a good way to kill a few minutes. (Not that we aren't already doing that every time we use Google to answer whatever burning curiosity is lodged in our brains in an average day.)
In a twist, the official Google blog states that a print version of the daily question will also be available above that most consistent of head-scratchers, the New York Times crossword puzzle, with answers revealed in the following day's paper. And, like that puzzle, the questions will get harder as the week progresses.
Google will give you all the instruction you need if your own searching proves futile. For today's question, "My name is Robert. One day before my brother Rohan’s 19th birthday, our father had an album on the Billboard 200. Name the album," hitting the "Show answer" link below it yields this approach:
How to find the answer: Search [Robert and Rohan brothers]. Learn that Robert is actually Bob Marley Jr. Search [Rohan Marley] and find he was born on May 19, 1972. Search [Bob Marley album May 18 1991]. Learn the album was "Talkin' Blues."
That's what I basically did, since Rohan isn't the most common name, Bob Marley came up fast, and from there I looked up Bob Marley's bio to find Rohan's date of birth, add about 19 and find which Marley album hit the Billboard 200 that year. And I also came up with "Talkin' Blues."
I wish there was a way to actually input the answer, and compare it to others, to see how many are playing and how long it took for them to find it using Google.
On the game page, use the arrows to go backward and forward in time, to different questions earlier or later in the week, depending on when you check. Google has also created a a special version of its search engine that "excludes real-time updates and other things that are likely to include spoilers as people post the answers to the puzzle online." But it's pretty easy to jump off of that screen and into the regular Google, so we don't know how effective that's really going to be, but the path each person takes to finding answers is probably data that Google will find useful as it continues to hone its search algorithms.
VentureBeat's Tom Cheredar that kind of data gathering is the real reason behind the Google a Day:
Probably the most obvious reason for creating a game like this is that it reveals new data on how users are searching for ultra specific pieces of information, and in ways that were previously only discovered by deduction of whatever data was available. Having users seek out predetermined results (using the search tool on agoogleaday.com, which doesn’t contain real-time results that might reveal the answer and ruin the game) allows Google to reverse engineer how they’re currently tracking and evaluating data.
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