Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Comes to Google: Search for Any Actor’s ‘Bacon Number’

Have you ever played the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Google has now made the game even easier to play.

Google now provides answers when you search for an actor's Bacon Number, which is the number of connections between Kevin Bacon and the actor in your query.

If you query "bacon number" (no quotes) before any actor's name, Google will provide you with the actor's Bacon Number and the trail of connections (actor and movie appeared in) leading to Kevin Bacon.

shirley-temple-bacon-number-google

Kevin Bacon, himself, is a 0.

How Does Google Do It?

Mathematically, there's an algorithm. So, naturally, Google's engineers didn't really have to do that much work. With more and more sites using microformats to mark up their sites and Google’s Knowledge Graph database growing larger, this is a no-brainer, fun way to show off.

Statistically speaking, most people fall between 2 and 3 positions from Kevin Bacon. As you go further out, it becomes increasingly difficult to find people with higher numbers. William Rufus Shafter, for example, has a Bacon Number of 7.

william-shafter-bacon-number-google

Can you find the rest of the 7s or 8s? Let us know in the comments below?

We're Google – Give Us More Data … Nom Nom Nom...

But is Google continuing to overstep their bounds by stealing content and traffic from other sites? Thekevinbacongame.com is one of the top spots online to play the Kevin Bacon Game. With Google placing this information in a one box as part of a search, Google will now receive the user loyalty and revenue from any ads that may appear as a result of the increased traffic.

History of the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a U.S. pop culture reference that popped up from a comment Kevin Bacon made during a 1994 interview, in which he said he's worked with nearly everyone in Hollywood.

Shortly thereafter, three Albright College students created a party game where friends would throw out a name and they'd somehow link them to Kevin Bacon, typically within six connections. The phenomenon continued on numerous talk shows and even spawned a TV commercial for Visa where Kevin Bacon tries to write a check but has forgotten his ID.

"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," said a Google spokesperson. "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."

About the author

Thom is a seasoned techincal SEO and digital analytics veteran. His current role as VP of Development and IT at Internet Marketing Ninjas includes the improvement of internal processes, leading the creation and refinement of industry-leading tools across multiple brands.

Previously he was a premier independent consultant, held a a senior search position at nationally renown TopRank Online Marketing and led all digital web-related technology's at Rochester Institute of Technology's Saunders College of Business. He also led analytics strategy efforts for the university's mobile initiative.

Part of the ClickZ Academy faculty, Thom has also taught for several well-respected colleges and universities. He is a regular speaker at ClickZ Live events and is a veteran of TEDx as well.