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Google's Math Puzzle

CmdrTaco posted about 10 years ago | from the weeding-out-us-regular-folk dept.

Google 564

An anonymous reader writes "Commuters in Cambridge, Mass., are scratching their heads over signs challenging passers-by to solve a complicated math problem. The mysterious banners are actually a job-recruiting pitch from Google."

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I'm a Reebok Sales Engineer! (5, Funny)

garcia (6573) | about 10 years ago | (#10265928)

NPR is clueless. That's why I am the one getting hired by Reebok! The URL was really and let you to an OGG of Blink182 singing the standard Reebok commercial. At the end you were asked to go down to Foot Locker and buy a specific pair of shoes. On the bottom of the shoe was a keypad. Once you dialed 1829675309 you were connected with a Reebok HR rep and giving a job at a local Foot Locker.

Job as a Google engineer, sheesh. What a load of crap! Would you like whitener or a pair of extra soft socks with your shoes? Perhaps a Nuggets jersey?

Re:I'm a Reebok Sales Engineer! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10265999)

Reminds me of the recruitment method at my old university. If you could hack into and leave a message in the private mailbox of the head of IT you got an interview for a post-grad job.

Are you trolling? (4, Funny)

mfh (56) | about 10 years ago | (#10266006)

The URL was really
That's not resolving and I think I know why...

Jenny, I got your number
I need to make you mine
Jenny, don't change your number
8675309 (8675309)
8675309 (8675309)

Are you joking? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266022)

That's not making sense and I think I know why. You're a retard.


Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266107)

You know, if you're going to mod something down at least have a clue why you're doing it. This post was fucking hysterical but the moderators are obviously too clueless to understand.


Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266241)

Perhaps the modder completely understood the joke and just thought it was lame, confusing for those who didn't get the joke, and overrated as very funny. Funny is in the eye of the beholder---an unfunny mod is needed to counteract all the funny mods.

Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Compact Dick (518888) | about 10 years ago | (#10265929)

do i keep getting this?: "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

Google (0, Offtopic)

mfh (56) | about 10 years ago | (#10265934)

Since Google is advertizing their site and recruiting people using strange methods, please visit my site and try our open source CMS:
01101000 01110100 01110100 01110000 00111010 00101111 00101111 01100111 01100101 01101101 01110011 01101001 01110100 01100101 01110011 00101110 01101010 01100011 01101111 01101101 01110011 01100101 01110010 01110110 00101110 01101110 01100101 01110100

Re:Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10265979)

That was much easier than Google's...

Make it hard next time... (3, Funny)

Mateito (746185) | about 10 years ago | (#10265938)

Re:Make it hard next time... (5, Funny)

ajayvb (657479) | about 10 years ago | (#10266166)

Even easier... [] Worked for me. I got through two interviews on the phone before being kicked out.

not that complicated (4, Informative)

CommanderTaco (85921) | about 10 years ago | (#10265942)

about 20 mins worth of programming, and i'm not that smart. it ends up taking you to this page [] .

Re:not that complicated (3, Funny)

benito27uk (646600) | about 10 years ago | (#10265977)

Or just use Google! []

Re:not that complicated (4, Funny)

justkarl (775856) | about 10 years ago | (#10265986)

Do you think that Google will get confused, after the link was put on slashdot? Just think, they're probably up to about 500 hits and climbing by now.

Then they're gonna wonder where all the applications are.

Re:not that complicated (2, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 10 years ago | (#10266086)

I guess they are clever enough to filter out all requests having as referrer.

Re:not that complicated (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 10 years ago | (#10266104)

Just think, they're probably up to about 500 hits and climbing by now.

So long as Google's mail servers filter out messages with text such as "g00gl3 r0x0r555 h1r3 m3, f4gg0rzzz!" they've likely just hit double digits.

Re:not that complicated (2, Funny)

robslimo (587196) | about 10 years ago | (#10266272)

I don't suppose the referrer field that says "" that all the browsers will passing out like bus tokens will cause any notice at google, eh?

Nah, they'd have to be pretty web-savvy to notice that.

Re:not that complicated (4, Funny)

artemis67 (93453) | about 10 years ago | (#10266048)

As you can imagine, we get many, many resumes every day, so we developed this little process to increase the signal to noise ratio.

Yes, that is, until somebody posted your link on Slashdot...

Re:not that complicated (1)

stupid_is (716292) | about 10 years ago | (#10266265)

It's a typo - they actually meant to say that it was to increase the noise to signal ratio.

Re:not that complicated (5, Funny)

vchoy (134429) | about 10 years ago | (#10266060)

Quote: As you can imagine, we get many, many resumes every day, so we developed this little process to increase the signal to noise ratio. We apologize for taking so much of your time just to ask you to consider working with us.

Well done, you have successfully increased the noise to signal ratio! :P

Re:not that complicated (5, Insightful)

div_2n (525075) | about 10 years ago | (#10266310)

Presumably they are looking for geeks to apply. They put that out there and it gets posted to Slashdot (which they probably expected) and gets deciphered in less than 20 minutes or so (which they also probably expected) and inevitably results in lots of geeks pondering applying to Google.

Sounds reasonable and gets them good exposure at the same time. There is a reason why Google is a household name. This is one more example.

Re:not that complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266363)

They put that out there and it gets posted to Slashdot (which they probably expected) and gets deciphered in less than 20 minutes or so (which they also probably expected) and inevitably results in lots of geeks pondering applying to Google.

Right. Because all the geeks here at Slashdot never considered applying to work at Google before.

Re:not that complicated (5, Interesting)

Florian Weimer (88405) | about 10 years ago | (#10266224)

about 20 mins worth of programming, and i'm not that smart. it ends up taking you to this page.

This one is actually quite easy. We look for a particular host name in Google's address space. So let's try:

$ host is an alias for has address has address has address
$ dnslog | grep '^[1-9][0-9]*\.com.A'

Hmm, no luck. What about the /16?

$ dnslog | grep '^[1-9][0-9]*\.com.A' A A A A

Well, we have a candidate, and it is indeed the correct one.

Once you have that domain name, you can search for more information [] .

{my phone number}.com (0, Redundant)

sebol (112743) | about 10 years ago | (#10266308)

so many {number}.com own by google,

what'll happened if google register {my phone number}.com and point to

Nice one. They may not get many resumes (-1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 10 years ago | (#10266358)

But at least now they'll be able to ADD 3'' TO THERE PEENIS GARANTEED!!

Why Linux? (0, Troll)

NessusRed (710227) | about 10 years ago | (#10265943)

Intellectual Theft As a consultant for several large companies, I'd always done my work on Windows. Recently however, a top online investment firm asked us to do some work using Linux. The concept of having access to source code was very appealing to us, as we'd be able to modify the kernel to meet our exacting standards which we're unable to do with Microsoft's products. Although we met several technical challenges along the way (specifically, Linux's lack of Token Ring support and the fact that we were unable to defrag its ext2 file system), all in all the process went smoothly. Everyone was very pleased with Linux, and we were considering using it for a great deal of future internal projects. So you can imagine our suprise when we were informed by a lawyer that we would be required to publish our source code for others to use. It was brought to our attention that Linux is copyrighted under something called the GPL, or the Gnu Protective License. Part of this license states that any changes to the kernel are to be made freely available. Unfortunately for us, this meant that the great deal of time and money we spent "touching up" Linux to work for this investment firm would now be available at no cost to our competitors. Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our lawyers advised us that any products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to its source code released. This was simply unacceptable. Although we had planned for no one outside of this company to ever use, let alone see the source code, we were now put in a difficult position. We could either give away our hard work, or come up with another solution. Although it was tough to do, there really was no option: We had to rewrite the code, from scratch, for Windows 2000. I think the biggest thing keeping Linux from being truly competitive with Microsoft is this GPL. Its draconian requirements virtually guarentee that no business will ever be able to use it. After my experience with Linux, I won't be recommending it to any of my associates. I may reconsider if Linux switches its license to something a little more fair, such as Microsoft's "Shared Source". Until then its attempts to socialize the software market will insure it remains only a bit player. Thank you for your time.

Dangerous? (3, Funny)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | about 10 years ago | (#10265952)

I hope that drivers who see that can still pay attention to the road. Regardless of whether they are trying to think about it or not.

Re:Dangerous? (1)

Duke Machesne (453316) | about 10 years ago | (#10266143)

Dear Sir or Madame,

Regarding your sig, it should read, properly:

There are only 1 kinds of people in this world... those who understand binary and those who don't.

The reason for this should be obvious.

Hope to have helped,
Duke Machesne

Re:Dangerous? (1)

Armando_Mcgillicutty (773718) | about 10 years ago | (#10266332)

Could you please state the obvious reason? I always thought 10 was binary for "2", therefore the statement reads "There are two kinds of people...."

I wonder (3, Insightful)

PhysicsGenius (565228) | about 10 years ago | (#10265959)

if it would be acceptable to hack a whois database to see what domains are registered to and just go there without solving the math problem. In fact, maybe they'd prefer that way, since Google has nothing to do with prime numbers but everything to do with the Internet.

Re:I wonder (4, Insightful)

rusty0101 (565565) | about 10 years ago | (#10266120)

I presume that would work for billboards where 'Google' is prominently displayed somewhere on the billboard. From the images I have seen of the billboards, it ain't there.

Given a Billboard where the only content is a text string '{first 10 digit prime in e}.com' there are three ways to find out that it is a 'google' ad.

1. Solve the puzzle.
2. Bribe the billboard owner. (surely you have seen this billboard advertizing itsel out at one time or another.)
3. Wait till the news breaks that it is a Google Job offer.

Something tells me that Google is more interested in people who quickly solve #1, vs people who can handle #2, or wait for #3.


Re:I wonder (1)

edbarbar (234498) | about 10 years ago | (#10266220)

It's trivial to actually find the answer on the net, and so not a good indicator that you have any applicable skills.

Maybe they are trying to find people curious enough to see the problem through.

Good Thig I Overclocked my brain! (0)

keeleysam (792221) | about 10 years ago | (#10265961)

I computed all those units faster then anybody else! Ill definetely get the job!

More details on Google's Blog (4, Informative)

GillBates0 (664202) | about 10 years ago | (#10265966)

Accessible in their 07/01 archives []

Monday, July 12, 2004 Warning: We Brake For Number Theory
If any Silicon Valley drivers have found that traffic is moving more slowly than usual these days on the southbound 101 right around Ralston, you may have us to blame. Last week we unveiled a billboard that's a bit unusual in that it promotes Google only to one very narrow constituency: engineers who are geeky enough to be annoyed at the very existence of a math problem they haven't solved, and smart enough to rectify the situation.

Google Billboard

In other words, the billboard (which offers problem-solvers the URL to, sorry, a page containing an even harder problem), is a recruiting campaign. We've always worked hard to hire the smartest engineers we can find, and we thought this would be a cool way to find a few more. Perhaps including you. If you're a math or computer whiz who doesn't happen to live within shouting distance of Palo Alto -- good luck, and we're looking forward to hearing from you.

- A. Googler

Re:More details on Google's Blog (2, Informative)

Maagma (714192) | about 10 years ago | (#10266010)

Direct Blog Post [] [] link to Google's hiring campaign market thingy. Ya.

Been done before. (4, Informative)

rritterson (588983) | about 10 years ago | (#10265967)

This is at least the second time google has done this. The first was on a billboard along US 101 in Silicon valley. /. may have covered it then, but I can't find the article so here is one from [] (note that the caption to the picture if you read the NPR article also references the same billboard.)

Oblig. response (-1, Redundant)

Bobdabishop307 (751992) | about 10 years ago | (#10265968)

Everyone knows the answer is 42.

Re:Oblig. response (1)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | about 10 years ago | (#10266101)

Actually, the answer (to the second part of the problem at least) is 49 in this case :) close but no cigar.

This was posted before... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10265972)

I don't have the Slashdot link, but here's the linked-to article the last time around: (beware of Slashdot induced spaces in the url). h+ mystery+billboard/2100-1023_3-5263941.html?tag=nef d.pop 2004-07-13 10:33:02
In a kind of geek "Jeopardy," the billboard read:"{first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits e}.com." The answer,, would lead a puzzle-sleuth to a Web page with yet another equation to solve, with still no sign the game was hosted by Google.

Mastering that equation would lead someone to a page on Google Labs, the company's research and development department, which reads: "One thing we learned while building Google is that it's easier to find what you're looking for if it comes looking for you. What we're looking for are the best engineers in the world. And here you are.

"As you can imagine, we get many, many resumes every day, so we developed this little process to increase the signal-to-noise ratio."

Re:This was posted before... (1)

Feyr (449684) | about 10 years ago | (#10266253)

>host A


OrgName: Google Inc.
Address: 2400 E. Bayshore Parkway
City: Mountain View
StateProv: CA
PostalCode: 94043
Country: US

no sign? i don't think so :)

Frustrating (4, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | about 10 years ago | (#10265974)

I spent two days on the second puzzle (the number from e just leads you to a site with the real puzzle), only to realize that the answer was far, far simpler than I had been looking for. I think buildings two blocks down heard the "Doh!" ;-)

A hint for those who want it...

If you're searching through all of your number theory memories and reference texts for a solution, you've left the solution far behind.

Re:Frustrating (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 10 years ago | (#10266267)

Also, the solution can be found with less than a minute of Googling.

Re:Frustrating (2, Interesting)

ajs (35943) | about 10 years ago | (#10266320)

BTW: ITA Software [] has some really good programming puzzles [] if you're looking for something that's a real challenge. If you're an admin, and you submit a resume for that job [] we send you a different, more ops-oriented puzzle that you might enjoy.

Is that a hard puzzle (3, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | about 10 years ago | (#10265975)

... in the mathematical sense? It strikes me that it probably isn't, since the decimal expansion of e is base dependent, and most "interesting" properties of number are not, IMHO, dependent on the number of fingers our forefathers used for counting.

Is there any method for the solution besides a brute force search and an efficient algorithm for primality testing?

Of course... (4, Funny)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | about 10 years ago | (#10265987) could just google for the answer:

7427466391 []

Now, is that a better or worse answer than figuring it out yourself?

aaah (3, Funny)

gowen (141411) | about 10 years ago | (#10266038)

I hate "what is the next number in the sequence" type puzzles. The correct answer is always the same.
Anything I damn well like. I understand polynomial interpolation

Re:aaah (1)

ajs (35943) | about 10 years ago | (#10266295)

Which, if you solved the problem AND submitted that answer (to prove that you could solve it, but consider it silly), might just land you the interview.

What I didn't realize going in is that this is not a contest, it's an ad. I thought I was solving a puzzle that Google considered hard, and that's why it took me so long: I was looking for hard answers. It turns out that this is just a device for getting smart people to look at Google's Web site.

The answer... (2, Funny)

vchoy (134429) | about 10 years ago | (#10266001)

Screw the answer...I just want the job @ colorful Google!!!

The Answer (1)

chendo (678767) | about 10 years ago | (#10266007)

The next step [] .

Found on Wikipedia [] .

Re:The Answer (4, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | about 10 years ago | (#10266095)

I saw this on Google Blog a few weeks ago and decided to try it out. Like nearly every problem I encounter, I also check Google for a solution and came up with it right quick. So I'm a little surprised it took so long to make it onto Slashdot.

Anyway, I guess I wasn't paying that close of attention during the IPO thing -

From the Wikipedia article: "In the IPO filing for Google, Inc., in 2004, rather than a typical round-number amount of money, the company announced its intention to raise $2,718,281,828, which is, of course, e billion dollars to the nearest integer."

old.... (1)

grendel_x86 (659437) | about 10 years ago | (#10266011)

They are still doing this? I thought they pulled those 6mo ago. The answers are all over the internet.

The first one leads to a url, second to another, and that gives you a pin# to submit your resume w/.

not any more... (1)

sharp-bang (311928) | about 10 years ago | (#10266158)

The account appears to be locked.

I'm a Cheater (5, Informative)

Smuj (249217) | about 10 years ago | (#10266016)

I'm lazy, so I just Googled the answer [] .

I'm a bit of a maths dunce but (4, Interesting)

not_a_product_id (604278) | about 10 years ago | (#10266026)

{first 10-digit prime found in consecutive digits of e}.com

In case you're wondering -- or forgot -- e is the base of the natural system of logarithms, having a numerical value of about 2.71828 (though the number goes on forever).

Get file with copy of prime numbers. Get file with copy of largest precision of e. Use perl to scan for all 10 digit primes and then look for the first one in e.


or am I missing something?

Re:I'm a bit of a maths dunce but (5, Funny)

samhalliday (653858) | about 10 years ago | (#10266123)

or am I missing something?

yes, the answer...

Re:I'm a bit of a maths dunce but (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266176)

The best method I've seen is taking e and use DNS to find the look for domains that resolve: see []

Re:I'm a bit of a maths dunce but (1)

karmatic (776420) | about 10 years ago | (#10266184)

Yeah, your missing something.

e = [large precision e, perhaps as a string];
// Actually, it doesn't have to be that large

for ( int i = 0; i < strlen ( e ); i++ )
if ( is_prime ( substr ( e, i, 10 ) ) )
// here is your answer

Re:I'm a bit of a maths dunce but (1)

supercytro (527265) | about 10 years ago | (#10266193)

Or even better, get file with larget precision of e (or compute it yourself). Iterate through 10 digit consecutive numbers in e and check if it is prime.

Re:I'm a bit of a maths dunce but (1)

Tenareth (17013) | about 10 years ago | (#10266264)

Yes, the ability to do it in your head...

Re:I'm a bit of a maths dunce but (0)

dema (103780) | about 10 years ago | (#10266273)

You're still missing the second answer [] :D

Re:I'm a bit of a maths dunce but (1)

tgd (2822) | about 10 years ago | (#10266298)

Thats precisely what I did. Total time including googling for a million digits of e (massive overkill, its in the first couple hundred, iirc) and a list of primes, plus writing the perl script was about fifteen minutes.

The second question was even easier, but I'd seen a problem in that vein in an IQ test or something when I was a kid, and being a total moron when it comes to math, it was the first thing I tried.

20 minutes to solve both, just to get to teh damn google jobs page, a job I wouldn't want.

Oh well.

Interesting (4, Interesting)

meganthom (259885) | about 10 years ago | (#10266028)

Personally, I like this approach. Maybe the problem isn't extraordinarily difficult to solve, but the ad itself has a useful purpose for Google's HR department: it finds people who are willing to solve a problem whose solution is not immediately obvious without any immediate gain, other than satisfying their curiosity. That has to be a nice plus for Google. They can limit their hiring process to those individuals and from there give them more challenging problems, take them through the interview process, etc.

Just Google for the answer! (4, Insightful)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | about 10 years ago | (#10266036)

Remember kids, you don't have to KNOW anything any more. This is the age of the search engine.

Re:Just Google for the answer! (4, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | about 10 years ago | (#10266255)

> Remember kids, you don't have to KNOW anything any more. This is the age of the
> search engine.

You never had to "know" anything, it's just that it was easier/cheaper/quicker to know something, or employ someone who knew, than it was to look it up. This is increasingly no longer true.

E A S Y (4, Interesting)

StevenHenderson (806391) | about 10 years ago | (#10266056)

Easy solution:

Use Google to find the solution to Google's puzzle. []

Guess they just want people who know how to use a search engine. :)

Re:E A S Y (1)

Surt (22457) | about 10 years ago | (#10266242)

Try searching for just billboard puzzle answer, it's much less obvious.

Plus those billboards have been up for long enough that google has probably stopped accepting submissions by now. They want the people who could solve it before it got documented.

Hmmm. I went to (5, Funny)

jbarr (2233) | about 10 years ago | (#10266061)

...and it just displays some guy's resume. Maybe 42 isn't the answer after all!

SPOILERS.. (4, Informative)

doowy (241688) | about 10 years ago | (#10266068)

I actually don't want to spoil it, and nobody else should because it is a fun excersise..

I won't post the URL, but here's what it says in case you want a jump on the second question;

Congratulations. You've made it to level 2. Go to and enter Bobsyouruncle as the login and the answer to this equation as the password.

f(1)= 7182818284
f(2)= 8182845904
f(3)= 8747135266
f(4)= 7427466391
f(5)= __________

Unfortunatley, the fun ends here. When you enter the correct password, you are taken to google lab's hiring page which I presume is accessible without jumping through hoops.


Issue9mm (97360) | about 10 years ago | (#10266382)

Possibly, but if you get to the google job page without having as the referrer, that might tip them off that you didn't actually solve the problem.


Outcry against google inminent? (1)

perseguidor (777194) | about 10 years ago | (#10266113)

Well, having received all the time under the spotlight Google has, with it going public and all, I'd be surprised if this kind of aggressive propaganda eventually doesn't result in a aggressive -although segmentary- outcry against the company.

A group could think the strong focused targetting implied in the ad is racist; or even that leaving people thinking makes google responsible for a climb in the number of accidents on the road : )

After all, it seems logical: The anti-google movement has to become strong, eventually.

And yes, I'm aware of [] .

There's probably a reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266131)

these billboards are in Cambridge, MA, and not College Station, TX.

$31billion (1)

PoopJuggler (688445) | about 10 years ago | (#10266147)

They have like $31billion in market capitalization now and this is the best they can do?

Why? (2, Interesting)

Jodka (520060) | about 10 years ago | (#10266152)

I have heard rumors that Microsoft does something similar, pose math riddles during job interviews.

I suspect these are just ways around the legal prohibitions on testing job candidates. Employers want to identify the smartest job applicants, and these informal riddles allow them to do that legally.

Correct Answer... (1)

Manip (656104) | about 10 years ago | (#10266178)

The correct answer is 11.

Where do I apply?

Re:Correct Answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266237)

At the nearest 7-11

Really really lame (4, Insightful)

taybin (622573) | about 10 years ago | (#10266179)

In the latest issue Dr. Dobbs (you get a free subscription if you attend LinuxWorldConf), they had a pullout job application. It was in the style of an SAT test and was filled with such "oh we're so smart and clever and funny and funky funky fresh" questions such as "write a haiku on database caching" and "the box below is empty. fill it with something" and other questions where any of the questions could be considered correct.

It was really annoying. It didn't make me want to work there at all. It was like a "oh we're so smart mensa+masturbating club".

The Answer (2, Interesting)

p0 (740290) | about 10 years ago | (#10266191)

The digits are 7427466391.

Here is the website [] which has another puzzle, and it says :

Congratulations. You've made it to level 2. Go to and enter Bobsyouruncle as the login and the answer to this equation as the password.

f(1)= 7182818284
f(2)= 8182845904
f(3)= 8747135266
f(4)= 7427466391
f(5)= __________

The answer here is 5966290435. This number can also be found in the sequence of 'e'

The point (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 10 years ago | (#10266196)

The point is that if you're really smart enough to figure that out, Google wants to see your resume, and for good reason -- it's probably got some experience doing the kinds of things they care about on it. If you just went to the Google hiring page and skipped the problem, well, they could care less.

google should (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266208)

spend less time pussy footing about hiring PhDs to pat on the back while MS starts catching them in the search stakes, and spend more time utilising their market share to push :

a) a jabber based IM linked to their gmail sign-in

b) a google browser, or a good set of plugins for firefox

I have had a few searches recently on google which weren't high quality and there are alot of spammers trying to gain attention. Page rank was a breakthrough, and google is still the best, but it wasn't THAT amazing and they need to extend into IM.

Once they have people with an email and IM service linked to a username/pass they have a solid base that will weather with them while they brew up their magic.

They are in a weak position, if another search came in right now which was more powerful... they could lose half their market share in a year. IM and email would halt that by far. And if it's based around open standards I would be cheering them on all the way.

Why? Isn't there enough road rage already? (5, Funny)

IronChefMorimoto (691038) | about 10 years ago | (#10266210)

Does Google not realize what these billboards are going to do? Think of the poor embattled commuters sitting in suburban to urban traffic clog.

Honking at each other.

Bitching on their cell phones about their wives while pissing off the person(s) behind them who are also on their cell phones bitching about the guy that is jabbering on his phone and not moving forward with traffic.

Bumping each other and causing just enough damage to their cars to NOT really want to risk an insurance claim but also enough to want to get it fixed before the neighbors think they drive a shitty car.

Flipping over and killing each other because one of them thought that he/she had to get to work about 30mph faster than everyone else, because that one person has a much busier day of meetings than everyone else on the highway.

Enter Google -- further frustrating drivers with friggin' math problems on billboards. What? You don't think people will look at them enough to be distracted and frustrated at learning that they're not really Google material?

I call bullshit. 'cause that bitch on the uncontested divorce for $299 billboard torments me every day. Not because I don't like my marriage or want a divorce. No -- she begs the question -- "Can you beat me in court if you want the dog and the 50" plasma TV? Eh, buddy?"

Fuck you lady. Fuck you and your uncontested divorce. And fuck Google for teasing me with a job that I probably will have never known existed if it weren't for people that are actually qualified to answer the math problem having posted the g'damned answers here and made feel stupid as shit.

I'd complain more, but this guy behind me in his gas guzzling SUV is honking at me to move forward one car length while we drive past an accident. Thank god for WiFi in the car. If he honks again, I'm threatening him with the Airsoft 9mm I have in the glove compartment.


Mathematica to the rescue! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266213)

First[Position[FromDigits /@
Partition[RealDigits[N[E,1000]][[1]],10,1],_?Prime Q]]


(FromDigits /@ Partition[RealDigits[N[E,1000]][[1]],10,1])[[100]]


(Yes, I realise the answer is all over the web,
this was still fun to figure out)

this is old news - and... (4, Interesting)

slashpot (11017) | about 10 years ago | (#10266214)

Google sucks ass anyway (not the search engine, working for the company). If you don't want to move to Mt. View California about the only jobs available at their data centers all over America are hardware managers (ooh - order replacement ide drives...) and data center techs. Google is screwing the hell out the data center techs, luring people into quitting stable jobs for a chance to get in the door at Google - using "contract positions" to build the data centers while leading people into thinking they'll get hired on and can climb their ladder to a sys admin position. If you don't believe, me do a quick search. Guess what happens when the data centers are built and the techies contracts are up... "Don't do evil" my ass.

....Solutions (1)

stupid_is (716292) | about 10 years ago | (#10266235)

Or you could just use google to find all the answers here []
One of many sites already
Ho hum.

Ignore my sig :-)

Level 2 - Google puzzle (1)

$exyNerdie (683214) | about 10 years ago | (#10266245) []

Congratulations. You've made it to level 2. Go to and enter Bobsyouruncle as the login and the answer to this equation as the password.

f(1)= 7182818284
f(2)= 8182845904
f(3)= 8747135266
f(4)= 7427466391
f(5)= __________

Final Level leads you to this page: []

You just need to figure out if you want to solve it and put on your resume of just apply anyway since you have the final page!

Google will ultimately fail . . . (1)

scottennis (225462) | about 10 years ago | (#10266258)

. . . unless they figure out this one simple fact:

Math is not English. (Or Math English, if you prefer.)

Language can only be boiled down to equations so far. There always comes a point where subjectivity, ambiguity, irony, nuance or some other non-mathematical factor takes over. And when it does, it takes over in such a big way that the math breaks down and renders all the previous work null and void.

Let me know when they start hiring brilliant people who understand language, then I might be interested in applying.

Besides, everyone knows that poets get more dates than mathematicians.

Not so smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266263)

Is it me or is this kind of question not the stuff of genius. I mean it's just a case of writting a program to brute force the answer. The only leap is figuring out the 49 / sum of digits bit.

Clever maths stuff doesn't (usually) require brute force. Things like the proof of infinite primes and proof of the irrationality of 2^0.5 - now they are clever. Next time I suggest they have a bill board asking for the proof of Goldbach Conjecture []

the answer (1, Redundant)

unformed (225214) | about 10 years ago | (#10266270)

The billboard answer is:

which brings you to:

Congratulations. You've made it to level 2. Go to and enter Bobsyouruncle as the login and the answer to this equation as the password.

f(1)= 7182818284
f(2)= 8182845904
f(3)= 8747135266
f(4)= 7427466391
f(5)= __________

Each number is in the digits of e, and each set sums up to 49, so you just need to find the 5th set of numbers in e whose sum is 49.

which is: 5966290435

chaching, you've got a job!

Here's whats at the end of the trail.. (0, Redundant)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | about 10 years ago | (#10266274)

Linky []

All the solutions - spoilers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266277)

All the solutions you need []


Picture of Google Billboard (2, Informative)

$exyNerdie (683214) | about 10 years ago | (#10266279)

Here's the Google Billboard picture []

(Also note the ClearChannel name at the bottom of the billboard...)

Public Domain C Source Code anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266291)

This guy blogged his full ANSI C source with the solution: []

GLAT = Google Labs Aptitude Test (1)

drphil (320469) | about 10 years ago | (#10266293)

Has anyone seen this recruiting tool? Similar to the billboards but with 21 questions: some math, some programming, some just down right silly. I saw it as an insert to the Sept 04 issue of Physics Today. I was going to submit as a Slashot article, but couldn't find a web site with the questions and I'm too damn lazy to scan them into my own web site. If you search GLAT in google you will find several hits on discussion groups and blogs that discuss it. When I first saw it Google gave no hits on GLAT.

Google is fucking crazy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10266306)

Google is trying to make job seekers a hell and misery.

The Answer... (4, Informative)

Paulrothrock (685079) | about 10 years ago | (#10266302)

Can be found out using a relatively short Perl script and some math knowledge.

First, find the first 1, 3, 7, or 9 after the first ten digits after the decimal. Take the preceding 9 digits, and run it through a Prime Number Checker. [] (The algorithm is in the source).

Really, the hardest part is determining the farthest decimal points of e. Here's the formula: limn->infinity (1 + 1/n)n.

It's lazy, impatient, and full of hubris! BTW, I get a finder's fee.

Google will give the answer (1, Redundant)

razmaspaz (568034) | about 10 years ago | (#10266333)

Interestingly enough this [] will give the answer, faster than ever writing a program for it.

Do you think if I told them I Googled for the answer they would give me the job?

Actually the first filter is "Who Cares" (1)

samberdoo (812366) | about 10 years ago | (#10266338)

If you even care about the problem you meet the first cut. The second problem seperates the "men from the boys." Yes, you can cheat but what does that buy you?

Google's joke (2, Informative)

$exyNerdie (683214) | about 10 years ago | (#10266356)

This is a joke. Here's why:

Once you solve the billboard puzzle, you get to this page: []
that has the following text:

Congratulations. You've made it to level 2. Go to and enter Bobsyouruncle as the login and the answer to this equation as the password.

f(1)= 7182818284
f(2)= 8182845904
f(3)= 8747135266
f(4)= 7427466391
f(5)= __________

You go to and enter Bobsyouruncle as the Login name and enter 6969696969 as the password. You get this page:

Your attempt to login failed for the following reason:
we did not find a matching login/password.

Please Note:
For security reasons, your account will be locked after three login failures. If you have some doubt as to your login name or password, we suggest you go to the account problems page and have your password and/or login mailed to you while your account is still active.
Due to heavy administrative workload, locked accounts may take up to one week to be unlocked.

But if you want to skip that step, you can, because eventual goal is to get you to this web page: []

Of course the real point is... (1)

ewanrg (446949) | about 10 years ago | (#10266372)

The thing I notice about this is that they've found a way to advertise they have jobs available, and to increase their general branding effort, by paying for a simple banner.

I think that shows a lot more thought than coming up with the equation in the first place.

As for using it to narrow applications to only "smart" applicants, there are a lot of other ways of doing so. Like following up on referrals...

Obligatory Plug - Please check out my online novel []

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