Creating Google Art

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Save a Usenet news post for later searching and viewing as a work of art.

Google's a poet, a chef, an oracle, not to mention a great artist. Who knew? With a little help from you, Google can be the next Picasso.

Okay, Whistler.

Okay, Billy from Mrs. Miller's third grade class.

When you search for something on Google Groups, the words for which you searched are highlighted in glorious primary colors within any posts you peruse. The main Google web search does this as well but only on the cached version of a web page. Some people far more artistically inclined with far more time on their hands than I ran with this idea, manipulating the highlights to create works of art. For example, there's a portrait of Lincoln at and Bart Simpson at

But it's not simply a matter of pushing a picture into Google Groups. What's involved is creating a text-based image on a grid, populating each square with a two-letter code signifying a color from the Google syntax highlighting palette. You need to post that "image" to a Usenet newsgroup, wait until it shows up in Google Groups, and then search for it using some fancy URL footwork.

At least that's how it was done...

Making Your Own Art

Creating your own Google Groups art is as simple as drawing a picture, thanks to the Google Art Creator (

If you've ever used even the most primitive of computer drawing applications (e.g., MacPaint on Macintosh or Paint on Windows), you'll find the tool a snap. Click on the color you want to use, then click on the square you want to paint. Use white to erase any errors you make. My masterpiece is shown in Figure 7-2.

Figure 7-2. Art made using Google Art Creator
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Once you've put the finishing touches on your masterpiece, name it by putting some keywords into the provided query box and click the "Make post to Google" button. You're not actually posting anything, mind you; instead, the tool will generate a post that you can copy and paste to Google, as shown in Figure 7-3.

Figure 7-3. Art post generated by Google
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Posting is the one bit of the process you still have to do manually. Fire up your favorite Usenet newsreader or make use of Google Groups' posting functionality. Whatever you do, don't post to just any group; use one of the test groups. There's a huge hierarchy under alt.test to choose from.


Notice that the Google Art Creator not only provides the post itself, but also what to search for in Google Groups. In my case, that's aa ae ai ao au ea ee ei eo "google tips". If all goes to plan, with a little patience and perseverence, my artwork should be on show in Google Groups within a day or so.