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Search based games and puzzles

As I’m interested in search engines, and how people’s information seeking casts a lens on their understanding and evaluation of the problem, I’ve been interested in games based around search engines. These games sometimes (more or less deliberately) help people understand how search engines work, and sometimes provide support to understand advanced functions or think more about credibility and provenance in info seeking. Here’s a collection of such search games or challenges – if you know others, add them in the comments:

  • Agoogleaday asks players to find the answer to factual questions (i.e., the game is precision oriented, there is only one answer). These are generally fairly complex, and require multi-part info seeking.
  • Dan Russell posts weekly search challenges which are harder still, and generally demonstrate different features of solving a search puzzle (and are still precision oriented). (Richard Byrne of freetechnology4teachers has also written a few of these for school/high-school students)
  • Google Feud asks players to type in the top ‘suggested searches’ for a given query stem – gives insight into the zeitgeist.
  • There have been a few games where players are supposed to guess the query from the results (e.g., quizgle, what search, and the Image Quiz – which does the same but based on images)
  • googlefight – give two keywords, the most ‘popular’ wins
  • captionbot – not a game, but helps understand how search engines (amongst others) are trying to do image recognition (I went to a great talk at the Society of the Query conf on ‘visually similar imgs’ the poetry of search). Various versions of this kind of thing exist.
  • There are lots of map based games, and I’m sure someone must have developed google goggles (& similar) based games too (there must be scavenger hunt style games)

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CC BY 4.0 Search based games and puzzles by Simon Knight is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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