|22/04/06 - 20.03|
As was first seen on the Google Blogoscoped Blog, Google teamed up with the Da Vinci code film release to produce a set of puzzles relating to the film. The prizes were varied on the basis of where you lived, but I never checked what they were. I just wanted to play the puzzles. Google played a good trick with this thing though, they made the puzzle a Google Module for their personalised homepage which will have brought in new users to that service I am sure. I thought the puzzle would appear actually on your homepage but instead the homepage keeps track of your progress as you move through the challenges. And as I moved through the challenge I realised that it wasn’t just the personalised homepage being advertised here. Google interweaved a lot of their services into this challenge.
The link launched a flash window in which the puzzle was explained and played. The basic idea was a 2 x 2 x 2 sudoku with 4 symbols instead of numbers. In some puzzles the “boxes” weren’t boxes either they were all sorts of different shapes. But it was always pretty easy to complete. Here is one example: Question/Solution. Upon completion a question was asked about the symbol on the character that appeared on the left like this. The answer was “blade”. This answer was soon on all the forums but it was also on Wikipedia beforehand and on About.com here. This challenge gave a point in the symbol row.
This puzzle was pretty dissapointing. On a honeycomb style grid you had to combine hexagons that were one space apart exavctly. The thing was if you did it in just the right order you could clear them all (or leave one), and that was the aim in the puzzle. The context was about revealing a message. The question which followed was another “name this symbol” type question and About.com had the answer again, “Greek Cross”. You got a point in the restoration row.
This was a really different challenge. And here Google went for something clever again. They asked you to find a video on Google Video which was atrailer for the film. You then had to watch the video carefully inorder to answer three questions. The first was the name of another symbol that appeared in the clip which was “Fleur de lis”, then about a painting that also featured “vitruvian man”, and finally a maths question. This final one is possible with no maths knowledge via a Google search or possible with no Google search via Maths knowledge. It was about an encrypter with so many parts with 26 letters on each. The total number of letter combinations was 11,881,376. How many parts wre there? 26^5 = 11881376, so the answer is 5. This challenge gave you a point in the observation row.
This was a curators challenge. You had a series of hooks which you were to suspend pictures from. The pictures were such that some required two hooks etc, so it wasn’t as easy as it may sound — but it was still very easy. At the end of putting all of the pictures on the wall you had to identify another symbol on someone’s face, this time it was “Chalice”, which could be found at a variety of resources online, as other symbols above could be.
Very good puzzle today. Chess game style. You move your opponents pieces too so that makes it easier. But you get one move, they get one, and then you get one and…. in the space of those three moves you have to get them in check mate. But it is easier than that: There are only a few (four) possible moves allowed at each step. But you can also solve it if you are crap at chess! Each of the four allowed moves corresponds to an answer to a multiple choice (Da Vinci) question that appears on the left. So you can answer three questions correctly (and you will automatically checkmate the king) or you can use your chess skills. Also in the description it says you may want to use Google Web Search to help you with the questions. Another Google service that they are advertising through this competition. Nice. The correct answers were 1/ Cilice 2/ Senechaux 3/ Keystone.
This puzzle was a jigsaw, and the picture was of an image from Google Earth/Maps. So that is a neat bit of link up with the maps service to start with. Also at the top it said “Lost your bearings? Try Google Maps”. Once you had assembled the puzzle you had to answer a question about the place namely “Where is this?”. But they linked it with Da Vinci by giving an extra clue saying that some sculpture of one of Da Vinci’s works (The Last Supper) is in this city. The answer was New York. This got a point on the Geography row.
So lets just do a quick tally, we are six days in so a quarter of the way through. Google has brought in Google Video, Google Web Search, and Google Earth/Maps, as well as having the whole thing on their Personalised Homepage. So if they keep bringing in services at this rate we can expect roughly one every other puzzle. I really think that Google will be doing well out of this deal. As for the film, well, who knows! I have never read the book. But having sat through the trailer, information about the characters, and pages of symbols I might be interested in going to see what it is all about.
Interestingly Google is pushing this quiz hard, they are advertising it on the Personalised Homepage like this. I wonder how many people there are playing now. If you missed it starting then you aren’t too late, just sign up on the Homepage and you will have all the challenges still to do. If you do get involved then you can follow all the progress, and discuss the puzzles in the Google Blogoscoped forum.