londrum - 7:59 pm on Sep 14, 2012 (gmt 0) [edited by: londrum at 8:01 pm (utc) on Sep 14, 2012]
i've just noticed that there is actually a dedicated website about this bacon number thing -- the oracle of bacon. if you look at the credits page you'll see that it's been around since 1999 and a lot of work has gone into it -- it looks like an exercise in database crunching.
i found the year 1999 a bit hard to believe, but i've just had a look at the site on the waybackmachine internet archive place, and it was indeed up and running in the year 2000. it had a form which you could enter the name of any actor and get the bacon number up.
so when people talk about all these new google innovations and "questions being answered that were hitherto unanswerable or extremely difficult to answer" i think they should look at the original site. google havent done anything that hasnt already been around for a decade. it seems that they just basically came along and nicked the idea, lock stock and barrel.
[edited by: londrum at 8:01 pm (utc) on Sep 14, 2012]