Bored at work today? Need to boost your trivia knowledge now that all the kids are back in school? Try Googling “fun facts” or “I’m feeling curious”.
Google’s latest trick aims to entertain and amaze, if random facts push your buttons. A new dynamic box appears below a search for “fun fact”, “fun facts” or “I’m feeling curious” showing tidbits like “Do crocodiles cry?”, which apparently some reptiles do.
The more curious can keep hitting the button labelled “ask another question” to generate seemingly endless random facts.
For instance, did you know it’s called the silver screen because it used to be silver?
Or that the apple came from central Asia?
How many steps in a mile? Google tells us it’s 2,000 (though it’s about 1,600 for me).
And, no, Sputnik 1 isn’t still up there in orbit, although what Sputnik’s got to do with Tony Banks I’ll never
The fact box only seems to appear for queries in English, although perhaps we have yet to hit on the correct French phrase for “I’m feeling curious” as “je suis curieux sentiment” just gave me a standard search – and the Swedish translation “jag är nyfiken” brought up the famous-for-its-nudity art house film I Am Curious (Yellow).
Each curio is pulled directly from other sites, just like Google does with other elements of its built-in encyclopaedia called Knowledge Graph or with new snippets.
The validity of the trivia remains to be seen, but Google provides a link to the site whence it came so you can at least check it out. Probably safe to trust National Geographic on crocodiles, but remember 88.2% of statistics are made up.
This article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Thursday 3rd September 2015 11.23 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010