I recently read a book by Dave Gorman on Googlewhacking (Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure ISBN: 0091891965). A googlewhack is a pair of words, both appearing in, which give just a single hit when entered in Google, leading to something other than a wordlist page. He creates a game/challenge by which he has to build up a chain of ten consecutive googlewhacks (each googlewhack author has to provide two new ones for him to try and follow-up). All rather pointless, but his book about meeting the people involved is amusing.

In case anyone is trying to play this game within the virtual world of the Internet, and happens upon a googlewhack amongst my pages (I'm not aware of any, other than the deliberately created example below [*], but am not inclined to try and hunt them out), here are the results of my first and only attempt to find googlewhacks (total elapsed time less than 15 minutes - it apparently isn't hard to find googlewhacks if one thinks laterally), in January 2004:

Obviously I cannot simply write down the googlewhacks [**], but here are my first two googlewhacks, plus some nearmisses, with each keyword wrecked by inserting XXX in the middle of it.

But are the two pairs found allowed to share a word? I'm not sure, so have given my third and final one too, just in case anyone following such chains prefers uniqueness of individual words.

Now, here's the tricky bit. There is a site dedicated to googlewhacking and it offers a checking and recording facility for googlewhacks. At the first try at registering them, of the three entries above only the middle one was eligible as far as the formal tester was concerned. This was because it could see three occurences of the last one (even though it only shows one of them?!) and the dictionary entry for armadillo existed but there was no linked definition for the plural. Shortly afterwards the first submission was also accepted (eh?) but the third one continued to be rejected. So, in an important sense, there are only two googlewhacks above. The rules as presented in Gorman's book, however, appear to be met by all three offerings. So what to do, in case anyone objects to repeated words but only counts formally accepted googlewhacks, here is one last one to keep you happy (it took a further couple of minutes to find):

Personally I wouldn't have counted that one, since two pages contain it; but one page appears to be an early subset of the other, so the formal checker allows it because Google absorbs the second page. Strange rules.

I also found the following, in the sequence given, betwen the first and second entries above. But the first three are disallowed as one of the words doesn't appear in (i.e. it isn't underlined by Google) and the last leads to a wordlist.

And why have I bothered providing this page? So that anyone building chains of googlewhacks can progress past me without needing me to interact with them - just take the ones above and move on. And if they have stopped existing or meeting the criteria: apologies, but this is the first and last time I'm ever going to bother with this activity. Incidentally, the word "gabions" really did crop up in conversation over dinner with friends on the day that I finished reading Gorman's book.

[*] How to create a googlewhack: find two words that give 0 hits, then write a page with them on. It's even easier than finding googlewhacks.
For example, preprandial gabions: Following preprandial drinks we moved through to the restaurant proper; the conversation subsequently ranged widely, from the use of gabions in maintaining fish passes to the iniquities of proposed legislation on top-up fees.

[**] How to destroy a googlewhack: write it down on a Google accessible page.