For better or worse, Google is an astounding font of information. (See our book The Googlization of everything : (and why we should worry).)
Just how astounding can hardly be explained to us mortals. But consider this article by John Tedesco, which tells the story of a research scientest at Google who posed a question:
“What’s the phone number of the office where this picture was snapped?
Let that sink in. He wasn’t asking for a phone number for the skyscraper in the picture, which sounds hard enough. He wanted the phone number of the precise office where the photographer was standing when the picture was taken.
Nothing in that office was even in the photo. Yet in a few minutes, Russell, a research scientist at Google, revealed the answer by paying attention to small details and walking us through a series of smart Google searches.
“Once you know these tricks, you can solve problems that look impossible,” Russell said.”
Having read the article of how he accomplished it, it still looks impossible to me. But it’s a mind-expanding read.