Are there any examples of google giving a wrong answer?

Let me explain.

I want to design a quiz where the questions are emailed out and the contestants have a certain time period in which to respond with their answers.

Of course this is hugely open to cheating so I want to put in a ‘catch’ question to see who is simply googling the answers. So I need a fairly straightforward question where if I googled it a wrong answer would be the obvious one to choose and I could see who did this.

Are there any examples of this out there?

Googling Mr. Ed zebra will give as the first link a snopes page saying it is true. (Well, saying that he wasn’t a horse.) It’s on a set of pages specifically designed to get you to question even them. They started that rumor just to see how far it would go.

You have to scroll a bit to find anyone saying it is a hoax. The first one I notices was actually Wikianswers.

Thanks - that’s good, and should certainly catch out a few people.

However I’m thinking that most people would know Mr Ed was a horse and wouldn’t need to google. I’m wondering if there’s something a bit more obscure, maybe a made up name, place, term, or animal, something people could only answer with a blind guess or with the wrong (googled) answer.

One problem is that this website is searchable using Google, so that if anyone does manage to suggest the perfect answer, this page will be one of the results. So you might want to ask that the answer be sent via private message.

This could be used to his advantage: come up with a very specific question that has no results on google. Ask that question here in a new thread, and have a few Dopers in on it so they load up the top of the thread with decided upon wrong answer.

This may be against some rule here, but I think it’d be a funny way to accomplish what you’re trying.

I like that scheme, pure evil but in a good way. You could sell that one to school boards. Might be worth asking the mods if they’d be OK with it.

A great example…

Looking at this thread with regards to hiccups, I came across a Wikipedia page which mentioned a teenage girl who had hiccups for 5 weeks. If you’d ask “In which state did a girl have continuous hiccups for 5 weeks”, and a student googled “girl hiccuping for 5 weeks state”, the first response would be the wiki page, and in fact the summary of the link states that the girl is from Washington.

Since I’m in Washington, I was curious about the citation, however both the cites listed show the girl lived in Florida, not Washington. (The astute slacker could see the cite came from Florida in the Google summary, but will likely not question it.

Only Yahoo! gives wrong answers. :smiley:

I think this would be very hard to achieve. Google draws on millions of sources, so you’re effectively looking for a ‘factoid’ with regard to which at least the top five most frequently accessed sources are all consistently and uniformly wrong.

So you’re left with two options. One is to ‘plant’ some misinformation, which is going to be hard to do and slightly goes against the grain here on the Dope.

The other is to create your quiz in such a way that cheating via Google doesn’t help anyone. A good way is to set factually-based riddles that require some actual thinking. Google can help to CONFIRM the answer once known or given, but it can’t help you to find or derive the answer.

Example: where would you go to see CONI, OSIR and AIGA?

Example: what links Jesus and 694?

These qs won’t stump Dopers for more than five seconds or three posts (whichever is the briefer period of time) but the ‘average’ person will have to think hard to come up with the answers, and Google doesn’t help at all. However, once you know the answers, Google can confirm them easily.

I got an email about this today linking to this website:

May be worth a look.

There is material you won’t find on the internet. Look in old archives. I don’t know if you want to ensure it wasn’t easily found or if you wish to trick them. To trick them look at popular subjects where so much made up stuff exists it buries anything factual that was ever collected.

I can only give an example of an answer that is difficult to find using Google, and some answers may be wrong.

My sister is finishing up nursing school and was too busy to actually read the material before trying to challenge the (take-home) quiz, so she and I were doing it together over the phone with Google’s assistance at both ends. The question that we missed was what foods should be limited to create a low-ammonia producing diet. The answer is out there but buried in a bunch of confusing information and flat-out wrong answers. The question was multiple choice and none of the choices seemed right and Google produced lots of evidence for the wrong choice.

I think you could do this with any number of common urban legends - just pick one from Snopes and word your question carefully to bait it with keywords that will favour the wrong search results (i.e. keywords found chiefly in the wrong results) - the search results debunking the myths will probably still appear, but they won’t be at the top - and if time is of the essence, the trap will more likely be sprung,

You’re not getting just the Google cheats with this, though. You’ll pick up anyone who has heard the urban legend and believed it. There are a lot of people who might not Google an answer that might think that tendon slicers are hiding under people’s cars. How would you differentiate between someone who looked up a wrong fact and someone who remembered a wrong fact?

The first thing to try is any of the other stories mentioned in the same area of the website in the link in post #2 of this thread.

I was deliberately oblique in the above sentence so searches wouldn’t turn it up. Anyone else suggesting topics from there may want to do the same.

Maybe I’m slow but I’m confused by the OP… are you trying to create a puzzle/challenge or are you trying to create a quiz that tests existing knowledge?

Just a quiz. I email out a series of general knowledge questions and ask for the answers back within an hour. I state ‘no googling!’. It’s just a bit of fun, but I’d like a way to see if anyone is obviously cheating so I can name and shame them.

Maybe you could do the same thing but backwards of what you are thinking. Give them a question where the answer could only be found by Googling and then those that get it right would be busted.

Good point. Might be possible to minimise it by picking a very obscure UL.

okay , I give up…

Whatchu talkin’ 'bout?
I don’t get it.