Nobody would argue with me if I said that 2018 has not been the best year for social news. While there are any number of untold horrors we can remember, here comes Google with an attempt to soften the blow. Google has devised a look-back game that makes looking back at the past year a much more pleasant experience. Have you begun to experience end-of-year news fatigue? Hang on for a little longer. Wait till you have played Google’s game intended to remind you of all the happenings of the past year.
Do You Remember the Search Trends of 2018?
Google’s Game of the Year 2018, out Tuesday, will test your knowledge of the search trends of the past year. In a simple click-to-choose format, the game will test your memory of the year’s most popular search trends. Do you, for instance, remember whether Justin Trudeau appeared in more search results or Justin Bieber? Did people search for craft cocktails more or less than they did last year? What pets did searchers want more of, kittens or puppies?
Do you have your finger on the pulse of the people? The game gives you a chance to find out. The game is an entertaining journey down memory lane. And not unlike Google’s Halloween Doodle, Game of the Year is a productivity zapper.
Encounter interesting trivia, such as whose Met Gala dress did people search for the most during 2018. (That honor went to actress Blake Lively). Virtually everyone is likely to be familiar with the all-consuming debate about Laurel vs. Yanny. But not many would know the name of the state that had the most searches for “fall equinox ritual.”
Playing the First Round
A series of 20 multiple-choice questions about 2018’s top trending Google searches features on the Game of the Year. Many questions in this quiz game seek answers to which of a pair up of two topics dominated searches throughout the year. The questions can get progressively tougher. You get a 50/50 shot on the early questions, though these are deceptively challenging. For instance, which personality was more popular among Google users, Iron Man or Elon Musk?
Other examples of questions are “Which US state searched for ‘mega millions’ the most,” and “What was the most searched painting of 2018?” You must answer each question within 10 seconds,. On some of the more difficult questions, you could be running down the clock. Three wrong guesses are all you would need to find that the game has ended. You can see your score as it gets tallied up.
How to Enter the Bonus Round
Get enough questions right and you will enter the interesting bonus round of Game of the Year. In this round, you must determine, within 10 seconds, in which year a series of topics trended more, 2017 or 2018. As the round progresses, you can earn extra wrong guesses. Your options would now be three or more answers, as opposed to just two, in the earlier round.
How the “Host” Was Created
Google used WaveNet, Google’s machine learning-powered text-to-speech tech, and Google Cloud to create the “host” of the game. The host not only narrates the questions but also comments after receiving an answer from a contestant. You can adjust the pitch and speed of the host’s voice, before you start the game.
Never before has Google gamified its search results, in this manner. While I would not call it mind-blowing gaming, I find it an interesting way to while away the time.