Google Me a Picture

February 23, 2010 on 7:57 pm by Michael Grey | In Humour, Stories, Whinges | 5 Comments

I sometimes find Google’s search prompt annoying. It can be a distraction when I’m impatiently on the hunt for some bit of info. It’s way too easy to get drawn in to other lines of thinking, other searches and subject matter. Looking for a new Indian restaurant? Well before you know it you’ve got “indian names”, “indian consulate” and “indian railways”. Too many interesting prompts and challenges for my modest attention span. The prospect of a tasty new palak paneer dish just has to wait while I’m whisked away to some helpful, yet unplanned, visit to completely unconnected websites. Who knew that the Indian railway system carries 18 million passengers a day? Not me – until today.

Now try entering “bagpipes” in the Google image search engine. Prompts include “bagpipe clipart” and “bagpipe cartoons” – and that’s among the top ten Google suggestions! Enter “fiddle”, “piano”, “guitar” or even “accordion” — there’s no sign of a “cartoon” prompt.

super hilarious bagpipe cartoon

I obviously have zero understanding (nor do many outside of Google, apparently) how the algorithms work to make Google’s search engine so effective. But I’d have to think that previous searches and the general popularity of a search subject have to come in to play.

So what gives with “bagpipe cartoons”? What do people want with “bagpipe cartoons”? What do they do with these things (aside from tarting up whingey blog posts)?

Man, bagpipes need some new PR.



  1. Funniest blog distraction I’ve had in a while. Makes me think how people with ADD can cope with Google and at the same time makes me laugh thinking of that fly on the wall as it hears you say “wow, 18 million, who knew”. I have to ask. How much time was lost in the distractions before you actually found what you were looking for…..or did you distract yourself all the way to writing this blog post and finding that lovely cartoon. :-).

    Did you find that Palak Paneer dish? I gotta know!

    Comment by ChrisConnolly — February 23, 2010 #

  2. Well Mike, since you mentioned it, here is a great article just out today on the Google algorithm. It may make your head explode, but it does provide some insight:

    I almost think it is the folks at Google itself that need a talking to…

    Comment by Vince — February 24, 2010 #

  3. Interesting, Vince. Thanks. I do note that using’s image search there was NO prompts for bagpipe cartoons or clipart. Happy to say, though, I ain’t losing sleep over any of this! M.

    Comment by mike — February 24, 2010 #

  4. My dad, whom you knew, used to see bagpipe cartoons in newspapers and fire off letters-to-the-editor pointing out the misperceptions, not to mention the inevitably incorrect illustration of the instrument, hand and arm position, and so on. (I know, apple not far from tree…)

    But I think we pipers can also laugh at the craziness of the instrument, and perhaps thank Victoria, Walter Scott and Tartanism for the stereotypes.

    If you search “music” in the New Yorker cartoon database, we’re not alone in being the subject of humour, which, like all comedy, to be truly funny has to offend a few people.

    Comment by aberthoff — February 25, 2010 #

  5. Chris – I am still looking for the great palak paneer dish – mmmm. Jaffer’s Asmaan restaurant on Bath St in Glasgow is close!

    Andrew – I can see your dad doing that! I have no prob with the bagpipe funnies – just wonder why we receive so much cartoon attention and other musical instruments not so much.

    Comment by mike — March 2, 2010 #

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