Conan's hit men mock Google's algorithmic certainty

Team Coco decides it's time to expose Google's claims that it can predict a movie's success.

Blockbuster or bust? Team Coco/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The lovely thing about Google is its certainty.

At least, I think I'm sure about that.

Google's algorithms exist to take the weight from our minds and direct us to where we should be going and what we should be doing. It's a wonderful relief.

Recently, Google declared it could out-Kreskin the critics and the Hollywood marketing men, by predicting, with 94 percent accuracy, which movies would succeed .

It was easy, Google huffed haughtily. All it had to do was look at search patterns.

Conan O'Brien and his team are a touch skeptical of this claim. So they created what they regard as a truer picture of Google's crystal movie ball.

"Are any stars trekked, warred, or danced with?" says a genial quasi-Googlie, attempting to explain some of the criteria the company's algorithm uses.

There are other mathematical considerations, such as: "What is lowest common Wayans brother?"

One crucial predictor -- a very wise one, it seems to me -- is whether Tim Allen is in the film.

Team Coco has found a very poetic name for this Google algorithm. It's called Google Blockbuster.

In movies, the word "blockbuster" signifies uncontrollable success. Well, at least it did until the blue-and-yellow Blockbuster next to your Chick-Fil-A came along, and then limped along.

Of course, there's a twist to Team Coco's version of Google Blockbuster, which I won't spoil.

I know that many are still wondering, though, whether Google used its own predictive skills as it was considering the prospects of "The Internship."

I fear this may not have been the case. Perhaps there was overconfidence present, as Google's executives viewed the screening.

Sadly, this movie, with the company as its true star, was described by the Guardian only a few days ago as "a $60m pr blowjob for Google that thankfully flopped."

 

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