As geeks, we’re fans of puzzles (indeed, we run a puzzle-a-week here on GeekDad). The challenge these days is that so many puzzles can so easily be solved by simply Googling for the answer, it’s hard to find any really good puzzles. The ease of finding answers to our questions on the internet takes the challenge (and hence the fun) out of the endeavor.
So who better to start putting out puzzles that actually incorporate using Google search than Google itself? But beware: they have a deeper motive than just sating all the polymaths out there.
They want people to learn how to search.
For the next four months or so, there will be a new puzzle posted each weekday to agoogleaday.com. The Monday puzzles will be relatively straightforward. Tuesday’s will be harder, Wednesday’s even harder, and so on. The puzzles get more challenging each day of the week, not unlike the New York Times Crossword. Not coincidentally, the Google-a-Day puzzles will also be printed in good old analog newspapers each day right next to the New York Times Crossword.
The kicker about each puzzle is that not only is it a cool challenge to solve, it will also plumb the depths of your higher-level Google skills. And therein lies the ulterior motive.
Over time, Google has realized that people aren’t using Google to its full potential. Like taking your Lamborghini Miura to the corner store to pick up a lottery ticket, folks haven’t been truly putting the search engine through its paces.
The idea is that each puzzle will also help the puzzlers explore Google search features, like taking advantage of Google search short-cuts, or how Google can even solve complex equations. Did you know that you can include mathematical constants in equations you enter in the Google Search field? You can use “pi” for, well, pi. Or “the answer to life, the universe, and everything” in place of 42. Yes, it really works.
The savvy googlers amongst you may worry that, because of how the internet works, if you go googling to try and solve one of the puzzles, you’ll likely get the answer to the puzzle, posted by someone else somewhere else on the internet, in your search results. Well, Google has thought of that too.
If you do all your googling from the search field at agoogleaday.com, it automatically filters out any site displaying the answer to the puzzle. A rare case when censorship is a good thing?