As soon as you want to know about anything, your first port of call is likely to be Google. Whether it’s Uzbekistan, the triceratops or potassium permanganate, most of us turn to the search engine to fill us in.
However, there are still one or two searches that leave Google drawing up a complete blank. Here are three types of searches that Google just doesn’t want to do:
1. Awkward band names
Last month, California dance-punk band !!! released their seventh album. The band have had singles in the UK charts and albums that made the U.S. Electronic top 10, but if you Google !!!, the search engine will return nothing at all.
The band were formed in 1995, three years before Google existed, so search engine compatibility was probably not something that will have crossed their mind when choosing their moniker. They say the name is pronounced by saying any monosyllabic sound three times, with ‘chk chk chk’ being the most commonly used. Google that, and you will indeed be presented with pages about the band.
!!! are not the only search engine unfriendly band. Good luck Googling the electronic band R, and you may have similar problems with Ø, the pseudonym of the late Finnish composer and producer Mike Vainio. There’s also Prince’s ‘Love Symbol’ which can best be type in text as Ƭ̵̬̊.
2. An image
Google does have an image search tool, but all it will do is direct you to other sites featuring the image you’ve put into it. What if you take a picture and you want to know what it’s a picture of?
It’s not possible at the moment, but search engines are working on it. It’s something that Microsoft seems keen to introduce to Bing going by SAScon events in recent years, and is certainly an exciting idea. Imagine being able to take a picture of an unfamiliar bird, a flag you don’t recognise or a Chinese character, then simply feeding it into a search engine and being told what it was.
3. Anything at all (with a bit of cheating)
This one is bending the rules a bit, but it is possible to get any Google search to give you no results at all.
When you search for something via Google (at least in desktop mode), the page of results itself will have a URL. Take that URL and add &num=0 to the end of it, and you’re telling Google you don’t want to see any results for your search term.
It’s pretty pointless, but it means a search for something like ‘tax paid by Google’ can cause some amusement!