Amidst the media frenzy created by Google's newest release, complaints abound that virtually every search results in a Bacon Number 2--they're not just referring to the game.
The Google version is a revival of the original "fun" party game, popular eighteen years ago, that tested movie buffs' ability to connect the actor Kevin Bacon to the works of other actors and actresses by degrees of separation. Reportedly, the idea for the game grew out of the actor's one-time claim that he had "worked with everyone in Hollywood."
Many who remember the younger, far more dream-boaty version at the pinnacle of his stardom were knee-deep in children at the time, making it tough to compare the "fun-factor" of a game few remember with the new release. Obviously, Google execs have a better memory than the general public, as well as unyielding faith in his timeless star quality, if they're willing to lay an egg of this proportion--then again, Bacon and eggs go well together, which might account for the fact that no one at Google thought this might be a really embarrassing idea; not their first by any means. Scattered reports question if the new edition is a thinly veiled attempt to resuscitate a flailing career--if so, only timelessness could warrant that kind of Google insider power and admiration.
Although some users claim unlimited fun in the simple act of saying "Bacon Number," one of the main complaints is that the original intent was to stump players. Google provides an immediate answer; no extended debates over who's right. Where's the fun in that? On a larger scale, there are serious issues with the search algorithm.
The overall purpose of the game is to think of a Hollywood celebrity that isn't associated with the actor in any way. Some users have found flawed results. According to Google, the Knowledge Graph that "should" capture all relevant celebrity information isn't entirely accurate. It excludes obscure relationships, i.e. actors that haven't achieved a certain level of stardom, even if they've worked directly with Bacon. This includes Ben Saypol, a friend of Washington Post reporter, Jen Chaney, but apparently not of Google.
Naysayers also complain that nearly every search results in a score of "2" no matter how obscure the relationship. The Number 2 list includes Aaron Paul, Kristen Stewart, and Paul Reubens; the exception being Pee Wee Herman's big fat nothing. Even Barack Obama's "starring role" in a political documentary with Tom Hanks, who also appeared in Apollo 13, rates a result of "2." Although Barack Obama is a celebrity, one would be hard-pressed to label him a Hollywood movie star.
Computers aren't perfect. Nonetheless, excluding results would be considered cheating in any other arena. Games that include a high rate of predictability are, predictably, no fun. Decide for yourself: Google's version rates a consistent number 2, or is it just plain fun to say "Bacon Number?"