Googlewhacking: Web game now a show and book

Pop Culture

September 12, 2004|By COX NEWS SERVICE

ATLANTA - Psychosomatic Rambunctiousness. Ungowned Poseurs. Octopi Jujitsu. Francophile Namesakes. Dork Turnspit. Silverfish Showstopper.

No, that isn't avant-garde poetry, nor is it a list of punk bands.

Those words are Googlewhacks. Googlewhacking is a game where you feed two random, obscure words into the popular Internet search engine and try to get one - and only one - hit. If you've ever typed something into Google and gotten hundreds of thousands of hits, you know how hard that can be.

You don't win anything, although you can submit your result to the Whack Stack at googlewhack.com, and maybe someone will think it's cool.

Googlewhacking has been around for a couple of years as an under-the-radar little Net phenomenon.

It was invented by Gary Stock, co-founder of an Internet press clipping company called Nexcerpt, according to the Web site.

It may soon get a boost, as comedian Dave Gorman brings his bizarre one-man show about Googlewhacking to off-Broadway next month. He's also written a new book, Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure, about his encounters with people who run the various Whacked sites.

One weird thing about Googlewhacking is there's a sort of Heisenberg principle at work: The discovery of one usually invalidates it, because it gets posted on the Web, then linked to. So when Gorman Googlewhacked "Francophone Namesakes," he got one hit. But merely by including it in his show, he upped the hit count: A recent Google search turned up 56 hits.

Oh, and no proper names, and no quote marks. And zero hits is not better than one hit. It just isn't. Those are the rules, made up by the Whackers.

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