Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thoughts on Google's "A Google A Day"

Time for something different! Today I discovered "A Google A Day" (link currently not working properly), where Google posts a strange trivia question and challenges you to use your Google skills to find the answer. To make it so that you don't get spoilers for your question, the Google engine used for these trivia questions is based on the state of the internet the day before the question comes up (unfortunately spoilers for old questions can and will get through), which I think is a brilliant solution to the problem. I had a ton of fun going through the two months worth of questions currently available, but throughout the experience I had one persistent thought.

This should be a game.

It'd be simple. The core is already there, it just needs shiny things for players to collect (every game needs shiny things for players to collect). It could be as simple as assigning a number of points to each trivia question. Older questions would be worth less (because it's much easier to find spoilers for those), but are still worth points so newcomers can catch up to older players. For more depth, there could be more than one question a day (really, the more the better), and questions could have difficulty ratings correlating to different point values. Not sure how hard it would be to implement, but Google could potentially track the searches and page views the player makes while searching for the answer and award some points for partial credit points in case the player figures out most of the relevant information for the problem but stumbles before figuring out the answer. The points a player earns could be tied into the upcoming Google+, to let friends easily compete with each other.

I haven't really thought about much else to say about this, but I am happy that Google offers this kind of thing, as they are probably the most suited for it. I have to say, this kind of thing makes learning that much more fun, and I think I'd enjoy it more if there were shinies to collect.

If you want much much more interesting thoughts on how making games out of things like this can be important (and other really interesting discussions about video games in general), I highly recommend you check out Extra Credits. For what I was kind of hoping to eventually get at with this topic in particular, but wasn't coherent enough to, check out their Gamifying Education episode.

That's all for now! Mostly I just wanted to babble about my new distraction.

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