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55 Ways to Have Fun With Google. Go to Table of Contents. Visit Gifcom.

Permutated Sentences

Before Google’s Q&A feature, a fun way to find instant facts was to move around the words of a question sentence until you hit on an answer. To explain, let’s say your question is “When was Albert Einstein born?” We remove the first word, “when”. We’ll now do a search for the several possible rearrangements of the words, and check the Google page count for each:

·         “Albert was Einstein born” (0 results)

·         “born was Albert Einstein” (0 results)

·         “Albert Einstein was born” (17,500 results)

·         “Albert was born Einstein” (5 results)

... and so on.

The one phrase search of these returning the most results is our “fact finder.” In this case it would almost certainly be “Albert Einstein was born”, and the continuation of this sentence contains our answer. This can be automated, but takes a while as going through all permutations requires many Google searches. FindForward’s “Ask Question” search (findforward.com/?t=answer) returns the following answer (you can see there are some left-overs from the snippet which aren’t meaningful in this context):

1879, Albert Einstein was born on March 14, 1879 German born American physicist who developed the special and general theories of relativity.