Wednesday, December 01, 2010

More nerdy fun with Google Instant Search

Following on from my earlier post, it follows that every single concept that Google knows about can be defined by the number of letters of it that have to be typed and its subsequent position on the list. So here's a little challenge - kind of the opposite of Googlewhacking (remember that?). What is the largest number of letters of a concept that you need to type before a concept appears on the top 5 list of possible searches (as Google Instant now seems to have settled on this display format)?

Conditions - either or Google UK, not signed in: say the number of letters (1-12?) you need to type, and the position in the list (1-5) that your target phrase appears. The phrase your looking for does need to be on the list - if it doesn't show up at all, it's not there, and doesn't count. Answers in comments, please ....

There are nearly 39 million combinations of 7 characters (counting letters and spaces), and 1017ish of 12 characters - similar to Googlewhacking, I think you'll have to be pretty obscure to need much more than 7 characters - or for your actual target phrase to be masked by more common long possible search phrases.

"Susan Pevensie" required eight letters (and appeared fourth on the list). I think this is the first search I've thought of which has needed eight letters.

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