The unGoogle-ables: They didn't see the Internet coming

The Internet is a vast place, but search engines can find anything. Almost anything, anyway -- we set out to find five of our favourite bands, films and companies that have slipped through the cracks in the Web

The Internet has revolutionised work, study and even pub quizzes with the power to simply type a word into Google and discover the secrets of the world. Sadly, not everything is so easy to find... And so we salute the unGoogle-ables: those names so generic, so common or just plain weird that finding what you need is near-impossible.

It's in the interests of most companies, films and bands to have memorable names. Bands can afford names such as And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, films can get away with Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, but companies usually want to keep it brief. New-media companies quickly realised that a name must be unique -- hence Twitter, Flickr, Spotify and the like -- but back in the real world there's been some choices that will forever leave search engines scratching their heads.

Not every simple name is unGoogle-able, however. Mobile phone network 3, for example, hits the Holy Grail by being simple, direct and going straight to three.co.uk. But then there's the LG Arena . Google it and you'll discover it's more than a specific phone; it's an actual arena in, like, the Midlands or somewhere.

Of course, it's not just Google -- it could be Ask, Yahoo or AOL, or any one of those many search engines that frankly we could only find if we typed 'search engine' into Google. These are by no means the best or worst of the hard-to-find, they're just five of our favourites, from the railway that confused itself out of existence to the bands that everyone could say but no-one could find. If you've ever been stymied by the search box, let us know in the comments. Onwards!

It's the film that inspired a million poster sales and many more middle-aged male fantasies. It's 10.

Can you Google it?

Not a chance.

What is it?

It's a 1979 Blake Edwards romantic comedy that made a star of a cornrowed Bo Derek and, inexplicably, rumpled English shortarse Dudley Moore. Moore is a songwriter in the grip of mid-life crisis who begins rating women out of 10, until he spots Derek and pursues her on her honeymoon in Mexico.

What were they thinking?

Well, this was pre-Internet. Misleadingly, Bo scores an 11.

Did it do them any harm?

It didn't do Bo or Dudders any harm, making them both -- albeit briefly -- stars.

Top hit for 10?

Number10.gov.uk
The official site of the Prime Minister's Office. The Internet's love of lists means that Bo 'n' Dud are nowhere to be seen, amid such gems as Netbook showdown: The top 10 mini laptops rated and Top ten terrible tech products from your very own Crave.

How do we find it?

Try either Moore or Derek, or start at the IMDb page. You could probably even watch it on YouTube, but we strongly recommend you buy the DVD instead.

All aboard! With One Railways.

Can you Google them?

Not now you can't. Because it was too stupid in the first place.

Who are they?

In 2004, the rail services operated from London's Liverpool Street by Anglia Railways, First Great Eastern and the West Anglia division of WAGN were acquired by National Express and rolled together to create one railway. One Railway, d'you see? Synergy.

What were they thinking?

They were thinking about brand synergies, probably, although the timing of National Express' takeover of the franchises -- on 1 April -- suggests the whole thing could just have been a joke that got out of hand.

Did it do them any harm?

The re-branding to One led to the utterly ridiculous situation that station announcements, which previously said things like "the 12.20 Anglia service to Bagshot is now leaving platform 3..." became "the 12.20 One service..." National Express swiftly re-rebranded the rebranded company as -- wait for it -- National Express.

Top hit for One?

A Web-hosting company.

How do we find them?

In a sign of how Google is actually reading your mind, scrolling down a bit leads you to 'See results for: one railway', and the first result is National Express.

Image: Oxyman

Hey everybody, it's Anal C***! Charming.

Can you Google them?

Not with safe search on, no.

Who are they?

You don't want to know. Oh all right, they were a musically challenging/challenged grindcore act formed by vocalist Seth Putnam (pictured), guitarist Mike Mahan and drummer Tim Morse in 1988 and operating a revolving door line-up until the present day.

What were they thinking?

This is an outfit that started out as an experiment to create the most non-musical band in the world. With songs -- and we use the term loosely -- consisting of screaming noise and rarely lasting more than a minute, and titles such as Song titles Are F***ing stupid, I Got An Office Job For The Sole Purpose of Sexually Harassing Women, and way, way worse, we doubt they'll be too bothered about Google rankings.

Did it do them any harm?

It's a wind-up, innit. There's a certain self-knowledge in song titles such as I'm Not Allowed To Like AC Anymore Since They Signed to Earache, Our Band Is Wicked Sick (We Have The Flu), and Having to Make Up Song Titles Sucks. Accused of homophobia, they recorded a stab of noise called Homophobia is Gay. Challenging and confrontational, yes, but funny? That's up to you.

Top hit for Anal C***?

You'll just have to look for yourself. We're washing our hands of Anal C***. So to speak.

How do we find them?

Turn safe search off, if you really, really have to. But for God's sake don't do an image search unless the kids are in bed.

Image: Mrs FactFinder

Double up with The The.

Can you Google them them?

Good luck with that that.

Who are they they?

The The is British songwriter Matt Johnson, backed by a revolving cast of musicians, including Johnny Marr in his quest to be in every band ever. Beginning in 1979 with a first gig supporting Scritti Politti, The The have released a fistful of albums and even flirted with mainstream success with The Beat(en) Generation in the mid-90s.

What were they they thinking?

Growing up in an East End pub where he was surrounded by live music, we wouldn't put it past Johnson to be both continuing and subverting the grand tradition of dad-confusing names like The Band and The Who. Very post-punk.

Did it do them them any harm?

Not really. The The are still ticking over and are known for being an innovative and challenging yet accessible act with a particular penchant for multimedia performance. In 1986 the Infected album was supported by the first album-length music video. Nowadays, a search on Google will ask you if you want to see results for Matt Johnson.

Top hit for The The?

NASA image of the day
A slideshow of NASA-related images, which shows up due to a typo in the page title. That's more in our wheelhouse, we'll admit.

How do we find them them?

Employ some search syntax by sticking "speech marks" around your "search term", and you'll find thethe.com, which is so much more than a band Web site, with a political 'newspaper' called This is The Day.

Image: Johanna Saint Michaels

Instant, striking, unforgettable: A is a great name for a band, and also gave rise to possibly the best band logo ever.

Can you Google them?

Eh?

Who are they?

A is a British pop-punk outfit comprising identical twin brothers Jason and Adam Perry on vocals and drums, younger brother Giles on keyboards, Mark Chapman on guitar and Daniel P Carter on bass (replacing original plank-spanker Stevie Swindon after one album). The band formed in 1995 and swiftly built a massive live following with their pedal-to-the-metal, sample-laced punk and enormo-chorus stadium rock.

A

What were they thinking?

Never a band to hide their stadium-sized ambitions, the band changed their name from Grand Designs -- referencing Rush, not that programme about pretentious houses -- so they would always be first in record-store racks. Epic thinking in the hard-copy age, not so easy for anyone wanting to search the Internet. Also a headache for music sub-editors, who often resorted to the somewhat dubious-sounding 'A'. Not to be confused with boy band A1 or, as Spotify thinks, A+.

Did it do them any harm?

Despite singles Nothing and Starbucks hitting the top 10 and top 20 in 2001, A's devoted live following and well-received albums never translated into massive sales, and the boys are currently on hiatus apart from the occasional live show. Among other things, Jason Perry produces McFly and Daniel P Carter presents the Radio One Rock Show.

Top hit for A?

A Dictionary of Slang
A dictionary of English slang and British colloquialisms. No sign of our chaps anywhere.

How do we find them?

Your only chance with a search engine is to go with a song or album title. Although there isn't an official site, there is a vibrant fan board at a-communication.co.uk, an out-of-date MySpace page called howacearea, or, if you really want to write off the morning, check out the often hilarious, always rockin' videos at YouTube. Oh it's on; it's on like Monkey Kong.

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Software
About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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