This is a diversion
you can do on the very popular Google search engine
to kill time
, or even to do scientific research
(see below). It requires a web browser
optional) and a little patience.
Enter www.google.com into your browser's URL text widget and go there. You will see the familiar search bar. Type in google and hit return. You will undoubtedly get many hits, as google is a very popular search engine indeed and people around the world link to it.
Now comes the game. Try adding an "o" and searching for gooogle. You should still get lots and lots of hits, because at the bottom of a hit list returned by Google, the engine adds one "o" per page of results. People have picked up on this and used it in links on their webpages, finding themselves clever for doing so.
We are more clever.
Enter goooogle (4 "o"'s). You will get lots of hits. Add another "o". Another. Another. The number of "o"'s increases roughly inversely to the number of hits. To put it another way: As the number of O's increases, the number of hits decreases more slowly over time, toward an asymptote of zero hits, which in theory it will never reach, although in practice this is not the case. The point of the game is to keep adding "o"'s, one at a time, without skipping ahead*, until you find the Google Nirvana, the point at which Google reaches out to infinity and touches the asymptote. The point of no hits. Record the number of "o"'s on a small slip of paper. Put the scrap of paper under your pillow, and you will be more in touch with the infinite. Guaranteed.
When you get near the top, you may get this amusing message from google's automatic spellchecking algorithms:
Did you mean: gooooooooooooooooooooooooogle?
Dang, I always spell that wrong.
Here's the science part: Over time, Google Nirvana moves farther and farther out as more people saturate the web with their Google bookmarks. Take a temporal cross section and examine the rate at which the Google Nirvana moves. As of this writing, Nirvana is 25. I'm going to keep watching until it hits 42. I expect some Revelations-style events to start happening right about that moment.
* It's important not to skip ahead. Someone indubitably has a web page with Google written with 627 o's. This is known as an outlier and is scorned by Nirvana-seeking monks of Google.