First noticed by The Next Web earlier today, Google has added a new, custom search element for people addicted to playing ’Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’. For anyone unfamiliar with the game, the player is given the name of an actor or actress and they attempt to link said actor or actress to Kevin Bacon within six steps. The player is allowed to link to other actors from television shows and feature length movies. For instance, Jimmy Stewart appeared in Airport ’77 with Kathleen Quinlan and Kathleen Quinlan appeared in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon. In addition, other players can attempt to link the actor or actress to Bacon in a fewer number of steps in order to win the round.
In order to see this on Google, simply type “bacon number Jimmy Stewart” into the search field. The results will appear at the top of the search engine results page, likely in the shortest number of steps. While someone could simply cheat at the game by conducting secret Google searches on a smartphone, the tool will be handy for movie and television buffs that want to verify their choice for the shortest path to finding a Kevin Bacon connection.
Pointed out by New York Magazine, the Google results are light on including politicians in the game beyond a handful of U.S. presidents. When asked about the absence of politicians included within the results, Google senior communications associate Roya Soleimani claimed that the Bacon number is based on Google’s Knowledge Graph rather than results from popular movie site IMDB.
Soleimani stated “Google’s Knowledge Graph is our ‘map’ of real-world people, entities, and the connections between them. 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.”
The concept for ’Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ was created approximately eighteen years ago by three students attending Albright College. The trio first came up with the game after watching a couple movies during a snowstorm that starred Kevin Bacon and the game developed into a fun party trick.
As the game become more popular, the trio had an appearance on Jon Stewart’s short-lived MTV show and they eventually landed a book deal. While Kevin Bacon originally disliked the concept of the game, he eventually warmed up to it and ended up writing a forward within the book for the three authors. Bacon also appeared in a Visa commercial poking fun of the concept in an attempt to prove his identity.
Bacon has capitalized further on the popularity of the game by founding SixDegrees.org, a charitable organization that partners with Network for Good. Through SixDegrees.org, people can purchase gift cards that can be redeemed by charities or use the platform to create a fundraiser for a good cause. Since the inception of the organization, Bacon has helped raise nearly four million dollars in donations for charities and other worthy causes.