What Is elgooG?

This Google parody amuses and confuses

In web design, a mirror site is a website that duplicates another site's contents, usually to reduce network traffic or make content more available. However, elgooG is a different type of mirror site. ElgooG, which is Google spelled backward, is a mirror image of the Google website.

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

Cubist illustration of elgooG
Lifewire / Ellen Lindner

Is This a Joke?

ElgooG is a parody site originally designed and hosted by All Too Flat, a parody and comedy website. Although elgooG is not affiliated with Google appears in the fine print at the bottom of the elgooG search screen, a search of the Whois website reveals Google is indeed the owner of the site.

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 website. Search results in elgooG are pulled from the actual Google search engine and then reversed.

ElgooG features hcreaS elgooG and a ykcuL gnileeF m'I buttons to mirror Google's Google Search and I'm Feeling Lucky buttons. Some past versions had a link to a mirror of Google's Even More page listing Google services. The current version of elgooG has eight button links. Tap Underwater, Gravity, Pac-man, Snake Game or one of the other buttons for a new and entertaining search screen.

Some links lead directly to Google services, and others go to a mirror page. Some browsers may behave differently than others, and occasionally a non-mirrored website is listed in the search results.

ElgooG and China

China censors the internet and blocks websites it deems inappropriate using the so-called "Great Firewall" of China. In 2002, Google was blocked by the Chinese government. New Scientist reported that elgooG was not blocked, so Chinese users had a backdoor method of accessing the search engine. Most likely, it never occurred to the Chinese government that although elgooG is a parody, the results were coming directly from Google.

Since then, China and Google have had a rocky relationship. Google censored results in China — and was criticized in the West for doing so — and then withdrew from mainland China completely, directing all results to uncensored Hong Kong. As of early 2018, Google is blocked in China along with Facebook and other websites from foreign companies.

No word on whether elgooG still works in China, but the chances are good that it is blocked by now.

The Bottom Line

ElgooG is not the easiest to use of the search engines, but it is a funny parody of the easiest-to-use search engine.

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