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Small Pieces Loosely Joined, Indeed

Apr 29, 2008 Michael Wurzer

Each morning I’m in town, I stop at my mom’s for coffee an hour before work.  Mostly we chit-chat and usually have the Today show on in the background.  Many times during our chats some question or other will come up to which we don’t know the answer and so I’ll take out my Treo and Google for the answer.  This morning, Matt Lauer posed his annual question about where in the world he’ll be next with a riddle:  An anagram of a synonym of a homophone of an even prime number.  My mom quickly said, “see if that thing knows the answer.”  I was skeptical but to indulge her curiousity I queried for “prime number homophone” and the first two results in the response were pages from Yahoo! Answers, with exactly what we wanted to know: Laos, is where in the world Matt Lauer will be next.

We both were amazed by this: Within an hour of Mr. Lauer posing the riddle from Amsterdam,  someone from who knows where typed the riddle into Yahoo!, someone (many, actually) else answered the question, and Google indexed the result, allowing me to find it a mere minutes later on my phone from my mother’s living room in Fargo, ND.  Wisdom of crowds, web 2.0, or whatever else you want it call it, that’s incredibly cool.