The Search Engine Equivalent Of The 555 Telephone Numbers Seen In Television And Film Is?

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An example of the fake "Finder-Spyder" search engine.
Journeyman/20th Century Fox

Answer: Finder-Spyder

Although television and film writers aren’t above referencing real-life places, events, and products, there’s a fake TV Land version of nearly everything—including search engines. While it’s hard to resist a good “Did you Google it?” jab when penning out a script, many writers call on a generic search engine that’s the search equivalent of the ubiquitous 555 area code (used in television shows and films to prevent people from dialing real phone numbers they see on the screen).

The search engine in question, Finder-Spyder, has been making appearances since the 2000s when it popped up in episodes of Prison Break, CSI, and Breaking Bad, among other places. Although the name has stayed the same over the intervening years, the crews of different television shows and films have dutifully updated the look of Finder-Spyder to reflect the color schemes and search engine landing pages popular at the time of filming.

One thing you’ll definitely notice is that even when there is a significant departure from the name, the naming scheme rarely, if ever matches an existing service like Google or Bing—production companies simply don’t want to be liable for any legal problems that stem from linking a real company to the plot of the episode or film, however natural it might feel for the viewer to see a character “Googling” something just like they do.

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