Things that are tricky to Google

The other day, I was thinking about an obscure short-lived comedy series called “United States” and wanted to learn more about it. Googling " ‘United States’ television series" was not helpful. Eventually, I used the IMDB search which gave me the name of the star (Beau Bridges) and I was able to use that information to find articles about what I was actually looking for

Today, I wanted to learn a little more about the USENET slang term “AOL” (which I know enough to know 1) means “I agree” and 2) is mocking AOL users who would quote whole articles just to add “I agree”). But googling “AOL slang” or anything like that was pretty useless too. I eventually thought to check the Jargon file and found this which is at least on topic.

Anyone else have a memorable experience with something hard to Google?

I’ve heard that authors today have to put a bit of thought into book titles to avoid creating something that would be hard to Google - anyone have any experience with that?

My wife used to be a school supplies buyer for a college bookstore. One day she and a coworker were trying to remember the name of a company who sold a line of bath and body care supplies that they had seen at a trade show. All that they could remember was that the product line was called something like “Dirty Girl”. That was a tricky one to Google!

Yeah, I’d use the computer at the library for my initial search for that product.

It’s no longer hard. Googling the band “The The” used to be damned tough if you didn’t use quotes in the search.

I once wanted to find the website for the White House.

Remember to attach .gov and not .com The latter goes to a porn site. I remember it used to be decked out in red, white, and blue, and had links to things like “First Ladies of Lust”

While researching background info for a British Naval story, set in the early 19th century, I had reason to look up info on punishment details. Got some interesting results when I entered terms like “flogging”, discipline", and “British navy”

I came here to mention them. Also NoNoNo and Real Estate.

I once tried to find the song “Under” by a group called “Under.” Apparently there are other performers called “Under” and “The Under.” Eventually I heard of a remix by Morgan Page so I could search for “Morgan Page” instead. Never was able to find the original. But the remix is pretty cool.

I can’t reproduce it now, but way back in 2005 when google was less sophisticated and Anna Nalick was almost unheard of, I saw her on TV and wanted to google her and got a lot of results for “anal lick.”

There is a song called “Away, Away” by a band called “The Promise”. It is next to impossible to google because of all the songs called “The Promise”.

There used to be a local group called “Amanda Jones” that I wanted to get more info about, esp. their cover of the Pogues song “Haunted”.

  1. “Haunted” is a really common title for songs, many newer. And since older stuff is less common on the Net than newer stuff …

  2. “Miss Amanda Jones” is also a song title by the Rolling Stones. So anything remotely music related will have links to that.

(Fortunately, a video of a live performance eventually was posted on YouTube. After years of search I is happy.)

Not Google but I’ve encountered a similar problem on Board Game Geek. They have a searchable database of pretty much every board game that’s ever been published. But I had a hard time finding information on a recently published game titled The Game.

A couple of decades back, I worked for the Dept of the Navy in a classified position. In our work areas there would be a single, stand-alone computer for internet searches, while at our desks, we were connected to the classified network. Long way around the barn for this anecdote…

As you can imagine, everything was closely monitored. So no surprise that a guy was fired for searching on “bondage.” He claimed he was looking for different adhesives. Yeah. No one bought that one.

Searching for health issues involving particular body parts can be, um, a challenge. You pretty much have to start at a medical site or risk getting lots of skeevy results back.

I ran into similar problems trying to find music by the group Big Daddy. All of the search results were about the more popular performer named Big Daddy Kane.

At least it was a few years ago. I just searched again and it appears Big Daddy Kane’s popularity has declined while Big Daddy’s has risen. So both are now represented. But two new contenders, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Big Daddy Weave, have joined the fray.

Not google, but I had a moment of this yesterday, while trying to find a journal article on the university library online access search page. I didn’t have the title, but knew what date it was published, and that it was in the journal ‘Science’.

Searching for ‘Science’ on a university library search page… doesn’t go so well.

That site has been defunct for a few years now.

What the OP talks about is known as the “Paris Hilton” problem. Put that phrase into a search engine, and it’s impossible to tell from the phrase whether you want information on a certain socialite, or whether you want information on motels in Paris.

When I was much younger and more naive I learned that if you’re looking for a sporting goods store it’s not wise to type dicks in your search bar.

And I was once having some stress corrosion cracking issues with a 6-7% molybdenum stainless steel drum and while doing some research ended up getting caught by the companies internet filter. Did they really think I was buying crack over the internet?

My hobby involves models of horses. I might search for images of palomino Quarter Horse or similar. But if I want pictures of non domesticated equines, searching for wild asses does not get me what I want.

Slightly off topic; zoos use a records network to keep track of animals, which is especially useful as they’re often loaned or transferred to other zoos. Among other things, keeping records of breeding can prevent accidental inbreeding and can pick up genetic diseases before they spread.

One of the recently discontinued versions was called the International Species Information System. Paying the annual subscription for the service got at least one UK zoo investigated on suspicion of funding a terrorist organisation :smack:

The guy who does our local pub trivia has a company called “Event DJs”. Since his company is fairly new, if you Google “event DJs cleveland” you find a lot of DJs in Cleveland who can work your event, but not Event DJs.

I had a similar problem trying to find the artist of a song titled Ghost (I was looking Badflower, ftr)…

Got a bunch of songs with ‘Ghost’ in the title (including a couple others simply called Ghost, which is slightly less annoying noise), a game by the title ‘Ghost Song’, Unchained Melody (used in the movie Ghost), and a bunch of songs by the band Ghost…had to search deep to find Badflower. (Now they come up as one of the first video links, but I didn’t have such luck a few months ago.)

Actually it still is tough for many things. “The The” is simple because that particular pair of words doesn’t exist in any other context.

For a real challenge, try googling for this:

The Palm Villa (or Villa Palm) hotel which existed in Palms, California, attested by a mentioned by the local press in 1890, and in 1903 by a travelers’ guidebook. The latter notice is the latest I know of.

You can find the book easily enough–it’s on Prelinger–and the newspapers are easily searchable and free.

But just try to find where in Palms that hotel was located. It just doesn’t seem to have been printed or written down anywhere. Instead, you were presumably supposed to ask somebody when you got to Palms. Maybe the station agent. I’ve looked at historical fire insurance maps, Baist real estate surveys, and numerous directories from before 1880 to 1920, although not all of those. And I haven’t found a single listing that didn’t say the address was simply “Palms”.