Joke and Game Google Search Engine Mods

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Cookin' With Google

Cookin' With Google
Research Buzz's free tool for finding recipes which use ingredients you have. Screen capture by Marziah Karch

Here's a peek at some creative and fun ways programmers have made use of Google's search engine. These tools are not associated or produced by Google, but they do make use of Google data.

Google encourages this sort of experimentation by giving programmers access to extensive documentation through Google Code. If you'd like to try your hand at creating your own Google experiment, Al Lukaszewski has some great tutorials to help you get started programming in Python.

Cooking With Google is based on the idea of making dinner out of the ingredients you currently have in your fridge.

Judy Hourihan originally came up with the concept of "Google cooking," where instead of using a recipe book, she typed ingredients into Google that she had on hand and let it find recipes that match. Cookin' With Google refines the search to eliminate most non-recipes from your search results.

Overall, this works pretty well. It's much better than reading through recipes to figure out if you have the ingredients on hand. The next time you're stumped about what to fix for dinner, you might try giving this a shot.

What We Like

  • Organizes recipes into categories like vegetarian or gluten-free.

  • Includes an option to view recipe results as images.

  • Clicking links opens a new tab.

  • Makes filtering Google results very easy.

What We Don't Like

  • Search page is very plain.

  • Ad-based results take up a lot of space at the top of results.

  • Some links open secondary search results rather than a recipe.

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elgooG - The Backwards Search Engine

Screen capture of elgooG
The Ultimate Mirror Site. Screen Capture

elgooG is Google backwards

In Web design, a "mirror site" is a Web site that duplicates another site's contents. This is usually done to make the content more available, such as software distribution that might strain a single server. ElgooG is a bit different. The word "elgooG" is Google spelled backwards. Rather than a mirror site, it is a mirror image of the Google Web site.

Depending on the browser you use, the search box types right to left, and the results display mostly backwards. You can search for words either backwards or forwards, but typing them backwards is more fun.

Is This a Joke?


Although the site is intended as a joke, it has been maintained for several years and is periodically updated to reflect changes in the Google Web site. Search results in elgooG are pulled from the actual Google search engine, and then reversed using Python.

ElgooG even features a "ykcuL gnileeF m'I" button to mirror Google's I'm Feeling Lucky button. In recent updates, elgooG has a reverse Bing or "gniB" and links to interactive Google Doodles, such as Pac-Man.

Some browsers may behave differently than others, and occasionally a non-mirrored website is listed in the search results. 

elgooG and China

China enforces Internet censorship and blocks Web sites it deems inappropriate. In 2002, Google was also blocked by the Chinese government.

New Scientist reported that elgooG was not blocked, so Chinese users had a back door method of accessing the search engine. It's doubtful that this still works today.

What We Like

  • Great practical joke to send to friends.

  • Interesting to explore unusual results.

What We Don't Like

  • Fun to use, but not very useful.

  • Search results are the same regardless of your search.

  • Google Images and Videos links are nonfunctional.

  • Large ad strip at the top of Google results.

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What does Google think about... Googlism. Screen capture by Marziah Karch

Googlism is a classic Google game. All you have to do is go to the Google search engine and type in your name followed by "is." The results are usually amusing. makes this even easier by doing the hard work for you. All you have to do is put in a name, and all the results come back with a sentence, or at least mostly a sentence. Type in "Harold," for instance, and the first results say "Harold is flexible in these formats."

What We Like

  • Fun party-game to play with friends.

  • Simple to play.

  • Provides an extensive list of results.

What We Don't Like

  • What, Where, and When features are nonfunctional.

  • You can only use your first name.

  • Results are very random and nonspecific.