Needed: The Google Imponderable RSS Feed

10Jul10

When you do a Google search, ordinarily you get thousands if not millions of hits.  If you do a specialized search, you may get it down to just a few dozen or, rarely, just a handful of results.

Once in a while, though, you find that you have asked Google a question that it cannot answer.  These unanswered Google questions yield this statement from Google:

In other words, as far as Google knows, nobody else in the history of the world has used the words, phrase, or combination that you are searching for.  You have achieved uniqueness.  Congratulations.

What the world needs, in response to this situation, is an RSS feed that immediately notifies people of this situation — people who have nothing better to do with their time than to answer questions that, until now, nobody even knew existed.  We need an RSS feed that will tell us what people are wanting to find and yet are not finding, so that the truly bored among us can immediately enter forum posts that use precisely the desired terms.  Or if the flow from such a feed would be overwhelming, we need at least a feed that will send us the Google Imponderables whose first letter matches the first letter of our last names, so that the world’s previously unknown questions will now be made known to as many as 1/26th of humanity.  And then there could be a traceback feature that notifies you, tomorrow, of the various posts and webpages that have gone up overnight in response to your Google Imponderable of yesterday.

This may seem ridiculous.  The strange thing is that it is not.  I use quotation marks in my Google queries, so I actually tend to come up with quite a few Google Imponderables.  Just now, for instance, I searched for this:

“purpose of a social work license”

And would you believe that, according to Google, nobody has ever used that phrase online?  Oh, don’t worry; I also tried this variation:

“purpose of a license to practice social work”

Same result!  It seems to be a genuine unknown.  Surely the situation will change at some point — not as quickly as if the RSS feed were already in place — but we can tentatively assert that, as of 12:54 PM on July 10, 2010, there is evidence that nobody has ever actually bothered to sit down and explain why anyone would bother to get a social work degree.  I don’t know what social conditions could possibly account for this bizarre situation, but I can tell you one thing:  it is a situation that calls for social change.

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