A Google Search Mystery: Practice Your Google Skills!

Remember back when the Internet had fun nicknames? My personal favorite was “the Information Super-Highway”, partially because it makes the Internet both a space and a path – the Internet isn’t where the information is, it’s the route by which the information comes to you.

Learning how to navigate these streams can be really valuable. Despite the best efforts of every SEO fiend in your office, as well as mid-90s AOL advertising campaigns, not everything is just a keyword away.

If you want to be able to answer questions deeper than “Who’s dating Ryan Gosling?” (try search term “ryan gosling girlfriend”) then you’ll have to start honing your Internet detective work. Your best asset as an online sleuth, unsurprisingly, is going to be Google mastery.

As we’ve covered before, there are many lesser-known tips and tricks you can learn to help you find out some not-so-obvious information, with just a minimum of a lead.

To test your Google gumshoe work, let’s try a little challenge.

This young lady is, somewhat obviously, a noblewoman from awhile back. We don’t know much about her right now, except that there’s a statue of her somewhere, and that the artist responsible for that statue has another work that shares a name with a current, popular American TV show.

How can you get from this picture to the name of that television program? Along the way, can you figure out the woman’s name, what material the statue is made of, where it is, and who made it?  Click on the picture below to start searching!   Answers are after the picture — no peeking!


I started out by using Google’s slick new search-by-image function to look up the image itself, which you can do by clicking the camera icon in the search bar for Google Images and pasting the picture’s URL. Lo and behold, we get Wikipedia, and the lady’s name is Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Using our next clue, which is the statue of the Queen, I used the “AROUND” operator, which specifies the number of words that can come in between two search terms:  [ Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz AROUND(3) statue ]. This turns up some cool photographs, as well as the location, which is the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. We also learn at this point that the statue is bronze.

The results for that search will probably also tell you that the sculptor’s name is Raymond Kaskey. But what other works did he produce? And how do you know which ones are also American television programs?

If you’re a culturally savvy American, you could probably just search [ Raymond kaskey sculpture list ] and look for the appropriate one. If you’re not familiar with current programming, you might have to get a little fancier.

One solution would be to just search [ raymond kaskey sculpture tv ]. This set of search terms will only find pages with all four keywords, which is likely to encompass the name of the sculpture – since both the sculpture and the TV show have the same name, and the sculpture is by Raymond Kaskey, the most likely hits will be pages mentioning the intersection.

Via this technique, we of course find out that  Raymond Kaskey has a statue in Portland, Oregon called Portlandia, which happens to also be the name of a contemporary program spoofing the hipsters endemic to that city, but, notably, has almost nothing to do with an eighteenth century Queen of England.

How is this witchcraft possible? Why, nothing other than Google Search.