A Google a Day

Puzzle Button

If you like puzzles and you like Google, then have we got a game for you.  A Google a Day is a trivia game in which using Google to find the answer isn’t cheating, it’s the whole point.

A Google a Day Question

Google’s Daniel M. Russell is behind this fun new feature and he has geared it towards teaching people the subtleties of search.  He runs his own blog, SearchReSearch, about how to effectively find anything online using a search engine – from which words are the most important to how to use Google Image Search.

The daily search puzzle was launched on April 11, 2011 (although there are four preliminary test questions that go back to the 7th).  Every weekday a question is posted and you get a chance to figure it out.  Just like many crosswords, the questions get harder and harder as the week draws to a close.  After Friday’s tough question, you get to give your Google hat the weekend off, rest up and start again on Monday.

Every Thursday (for the last three Thursdays at least, as the game is relatively new) the A Google a Day question is posed by a well-known public figure – from a famous cook and a best-selling author to a world-renowned artist, and even a father of the internet.

Although it can be frustrating (as with any puzzle) to repeatedly submit wrong answers (especially on Fridays)…

A Google a Day Wrong Answer

If you persevere, you will get a happy correct message along with a detailed method for finding the right answer:

A Google A Day Answer

And if you get truly stuck, the “Show answer?” button will give you the same screen (minus the congratulations) and you can learn how to get the answer by walking through the searches listed.

For example, to solve the April 7 question, you search for the word you do not know [senescence]; then you search for animals that don’t undergo senescence by Googling [animals biologically immortal].  To find an animal that is both biologically immortal and that can grow back half its body you compare the list of biologically immortal animals to the list you get by querying [regenerative animals].  Naturally, there are other ways to find the answer, but the “Show answer?” button will give you general best searching practices.

Now, were you worrying that while Googling to find the answer you’d run into some spoil-sport blog with all the Google a Day answers?  Well, worry no more because Google a Day uses a magical time-lock machine that they call “Deja Google” to run your searches from an index that will omit any content produced in the past 7 days.

Deja Google

Aside from giving you a safe arena to tussle with your daily puzzle, playing with Deja Google also lets you see how search results change day in and day out.  Search some piece of breaking news in both Deja Google and a traditional Google search to see how much content has been produced in the past week.

All in all, A Google a Day is an amazing little tool for some mental jazzercise to start your morning and keep that glorious brain of yours in tip top shape.

Disclaimer: Knowing about A Google a Day may result in a loss of productivity due to the many minutes spent finding the answer – and then of course the many hours spent exploring the web of the past.

Have you tried A Google a Day yet?  How do you like it?