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What Does Google-Fu Mean?
July 21, 2005 10:35 PM   Subscribe

What does Google-Fu mean?

Not only that, where does the term originate and what the heck does Fu stand for?

BTW, I know that it has something to do with a long, involved Google search...but this is only something I have asserted from the many AskMe-Fi threads I have read. And, in case you were wondering, my Google-Fu on this question has failed me (as you all like to say). The problem is, I'm not quite sure if that statement is true...
posted by ebeeb to Writing & Language (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
"Google-Fu" is merely being able to find things quickly and easily, particularly difficult things, on Google. And the "-fu" comes from "Kung Fu"; the "google-fu" phrase is sort of an outgrowing of the whole usage of "ninja" to mean "someone who is hyper-competent".
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 10:39 PM on July 21, 2005


"Google-Fu" is the uncanny ability to hit on the right combinations of words & phrases to make Google a half-remembered webpage that you saw once back in 2002. Usually, it involves multiple iterations of the search.

As for the etymology of the phrase, I'll step aside and let someone more well-versed in '70s Kung-Fu movies answer that one.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:39 PM on July 21, 2005


(basically Ninja use Kung-Fu[1], so a google-ninja would use Google-Fu)


[1] I don't think they actually do, but it's sort of the whole.. idea, anyway.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 10:40 PM on July 21, 2005


It's a play on the martial art, kung-fu.
The implication is that one needs skill, dexterity, and practice in order to search the internet sucessfully.

On preview: I am too slow. My post-fu is weak.
posted by 4easypayments at 10:44 PM on July 21, 2005


Google-Fu is one's ability to find the answer to a question using Google. Think of it as your power to string together words in such a way that they, once handed over to Google, might bring you closer to finding out whatever it is that you are searching for.

I have no clue as to the exact origin of the phrase, but I suppose it is a take-off on the term Kung fu, which is a general Chinese term for martial arts (in which case "Fu" wouldn't stand for anything).


On preview, what Johnny and the Reverend said.
posted by anarcation at 10:45 PM on July 21, 2005


MY DARKNET STYLE GOOGLE-FU IS MORE POWERFUL THAN YOUR WETWARE STYLE GOOGLE-FU

KYAAAAAA
posted by jenovus at 10:53 PM on July 21, 2005


Why not look it up?
posted by Rothko at 10:59 PM on July 21, 2005


I did look it up, but I wasn't at all thrilled with the google results, thank you very much. I thought my fellow Me-Fites would have better insight.
posted by ebeeb at 11:02 PM on July 21, 2005


In the martial arts movies, you might get two immortals or simply uber-badass guys fighting each other, and in a pause in the combat, because the other guy has not yet disintegrated like any normal guy would under the power of the attacks, one might concede to the other "Your Kung-Fu is strong" in that tone that means "I'm quite surprised and impressed you are still alive, but I have full confidence that this will soon be remedied".

Alternatively, in a situation like when Ben Kenobi duels Vader in Star Wars, when Vader says "Your powers are weak, old man", in a martial arts flick the line might be "Your Kung-fu is weak".

I'm not sure how we can work in stuff like "But can you survive my Flying Tiger Style!" into the Google-Fu terminology, but I'm sure someone is working on it :)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:06 PM on July 21, 2005


Rev, ninjas use ninjitsu.
posted by randomstriker at 11:08 PM on July 21, 2005


Me: "I'm not sure how we can work in stuff like "But can you survive my Flying Tiger Style!" into the Google-Fu terminology, but I'm sure someone is working on it :)

Two posts up - Jenovus:
MY DARKNET STYLE GOOGLE-FU IS MORE POWERFUL THAN YOUR WETWARE STYLE GOOGLE-FU

It looks like the guy in question is Jenovus :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:09 PM on July 21, 2005


It's a generalized from kung-fu. The Jargon file states that it originated with GIMP's remote-scripting facility, script-fu, in 1998.
posted by tumble at 11:22 PM on July 21, 2005


I would have thought it was obvious, but then I AM A SUPERGENIUS.

For future reference.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:21 AM on July 22, 2005


Also, just in case you were wondering.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:23 AM on July 22, 2005


I get the impression that the leap of 'fu' from martial arts movies to computer culture owes much to Joe Bob Briggs. My circa 1992 edition of the Harmon & Holman Handbook To Literature included an entry on 'fu' as a result of him.

This is, of course, distinguished from "foo."
posted by kimota at 5:08 AM on July 22, 2005


Yes, Joe Bob Briggs is almost certain the origin of this.
posted by kindall at 7:06 AM on July 22, 2005


For what it's worth, I did a bit of digging on the fu suffix a while back. I was not able to specifically credit Joe Bob Briggs with popularizing the usage, but it's not impossible.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:28 AM on July 22, 2005


I love Joe Bob Briggs. He would often end his horror B-movie reviews by reciting the different kinds of weird deaths like this "Chainsaw fu. Knife fu. Shishkabob through the throat fu."

Damn, he's funny...
posted by GaelFC at 9:25 AM on July 22, 2005


My google fu is unstoppable. :-)
posted by Araucaria at 10:26 AM on July 22, 2005


So do web-ninjas use googoojitsu?

What do the web-pirates use?
posted by warbaby at 10:44 AM on July 22, 2005


As I've read, you can have Kung-Fu of almost anything. You can have the Kung-Fu of driving... if you do it really well.

The fighting in "Kung Fu" movies is an example of Kung-Fu of Wu Shu. The martial arts in these movies should be called "Wu Shu". The fact that it's being done so well is Kung Fu.

I may be butchering spellings and interpretations, as I don't speak Chinese-- apologies.

And yes, I sucked all the fun out of this question. hehe sorry.
posted by GreenTentacle at 10:52 AM on July 22, 2005


This entry on wikipedia explains what I was talking about.
posted by GreenTentacle at 10:53 AM on July 22, 2005


I just came across a reference to "guitar-fu", which was the first instance I've noticed of migration to non-online use.
posted by Miko at 3:49 PM on July 22, 2005


Thanks Guys! Post-fu is my favorite.
posted by ebeeb at 10:41 PM on July 22, 2005


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