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Google's 'Kevin Bacon' Search Is a Degree or Two Off

Kevin Bacon
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Now you can play everyone's favorite party game ... without using your brain.

Well, sort of. In another example of how a computer is only as smart as its creator (or something), the new Google search tool that allows you to calculate any actor's "Bacon Number" — the number of degrees he or she is removed from a Kevin Bacon movie — doesn't (yet) beat good old-fashioned human memory.

The limitations of the program were discovered by some of the staff of New York Magazine, who started using the tool to find the number of degrees certain political figures were to Kevin Bacon (hey, why not?). They became concerned when the search for Patrick Leahy's Bacon Number turned up empty — which makes no sense, as the longtime Vermont senator raised the Joker's ire in "The Dark Knight" ("You remind me of my father ...") and even showed up again in "The Dark Knight Rises."

New York Magazine got in touch with Google senior communications associate Roya Soleimani, who shed some light on the subject with the revelation that the Google search tool — unlike the Bacon Number generating website, The Oracle of Bacon — doesn't utilize the IMDB.

"The 'Bacon Number' feature is based on Google's Knowledge Graph, which is our 'map' of real-world people, entities, and the connections between them," Soleimani said in an e-mail. "For most celebrities and some public figures, the feature will return their Bacon Number based on the connections in the Knowledge Graph. Our team is constantly working to make search smarter, and features like the Bacon Number equip our users with ways to explore and discover more."

Well, as this is Google we're talking about, we're sure this will be fixed in a matter of minutes. For now, The Oracle of Bacon is your best bet for your online rounds of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon — and, for the record, Leahy's Bacon Number is two (he was in "The Dark Knight Rises" with Hector Atreyu Ruiz, who was in "Death Sentence" with Bacon).

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