Passing the time with Google Images

Guess-the-Google Harry Potter, a gold ball with wings and something that looks like a lacrosse stick. Which search term renders you those images via Google's Image Search? Play Guess-the-Google, and you might find out.

Freelance Web designer Grant Robinson developed the game, which essentially lets players do Google image searches in reverse. It shows 20 images, all the result of an unknown search on Google Images; the objective is to guess the Google search that led to the given results.

The concept behind Guess-the-Google is great, but the game definitely has its limitations. After playing it only twice, for instance, I began to get repeat searches, even within the same game on occasion (my searches included the words latitude, bark, purple, communism and family). One problem may be that the game appears to use Google's free XML API to fetch search results.

Google allows developers to access their database using a Web service, but to prevent abuse, they limit the number of searches a single developer can fetch in one day. This may be responsible for the limited number of searches the game offers on any given day. And access to the game has been sketchy throughout the week. Though a friend forwarded the link on Tuesday, I wasn't able to play the game until Friday.

Even with its hiccups, Guess-the-Google is a fun way to pass the time when work slows on a Friday afternoon and puts a novel twist on the search engine feature we all love and know so well.