‘Bacon number’ searches on Google let users play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

14 Sep 2012

Kevin Bacon at the 67th Golden Globe Awards in 2010 (CA Picture: Paul Smith/Featureflash)

Even if you’ve never played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, you will likely become addicted to Google’s new Easter egg, which reveals an actor’s ‘Bacon number’ – the number of connections it takes to link them to actor Kevin Bacon.

The game derives from ‘six degrees of separation’, the idea that everyone on earth can be connected with no more than six links. To play, you choose an actor and, through co-stars in their films, connect them to Kevin Bacon in six steps or less.

So, if you started with, say, Domhnall Gleeson, you’d say that Gleeson starred in True Grit with Josh Brolin, who starred in Hollow Man with Kevin Bacon – marking just two degrees of separation between the Irish actor and his Hollywood contemporary.

But now you don’t have to use your brain (or, more likely, IMDB) to discover the many roads that lead to Kevin Bacon as Google will find the links for you. Simply type ‘Bacon number’ followed by an actor’s name into Google and you’ll see the results.

Domhnall Gleeson's Bacon number

As the digital world grows ever more connected so, too, does Kevin Bacon, and it’s difficult to find an actor that requires the full six degrees to reach him. After numerous searches, we came across only two that required three steps (Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead, and Australian pop star Jason Donovan, who starred in Neighbours in his younger years).

Jason Donovan's Bacon number

We did eventually find an actor with a Bacon number of four, though: William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in British soap Coronation Street. Try it yourself and see if you can find an actor who is six degrees removed from Kevin Bacon – it’s not easy!

William Roache's Bacon number

The game only works with actors, and typing a random celebrity’s name will only bring up a regular Google search. Truly obscure actors (like those who have starred in just one movie) tend not to work either.

Image of Kevin Bacon via Featureflash on Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.