Fumes in the News: Google Nose

Imagine my wonder and amazement when I turned on my computer today and read on Google's front page: "New! What’s that smell? Find out with Google Nose."

Clicking through, I learn that Google Nose features include:

Your internet sommelier: Expertly curated Knowledge Panels pair images, descriptions and aromas.
Take a wiff: The Google Aromabase - 15 M+ scentibytes.
Don't ask, don't smell: For when you're wary of your query - SafeSearch included.

Google Nose BETA leverages new and existing technologies to offer the sharpest olfactory experience available:
Street Sense vehicles have inhaled and indexed millions of atmospheric miles.
Android Ambient Odour Detection collects smells via the world's most sensible mobile operating system.
SMELLCD™ 1.8+ high-resolution compatible for precise and controlled odours.

Clicking the link leads me to the "Google Aromabase", with a variety of captioned thumbnails. A tap on "Unattended Litter Box" reveals the description: "Distinct bouquet of ammonia with an earthy undertone". A smack on "Hot Springs" flashes "Boisterous bursts of sulfur with a hint of pencil lead on the nose". "Permanent Marker"? "Rubbing alcohol poured into a puddle of gas". "Garlic Breath"? "Allyl methyl sulfide".

The odd stab at waggishness includes "Cologne: Perfume with a hint of testosterone" and "Perfume: Cologne with a hint of estrogen". Kee-yuk.

Some of the terms are so pungently evocative that my eager clicks on their thumbnails end only in disappointment. The skin-crawlingly intimate nooks'n'cranies smell of "Belly Button" is mystifyingly re-imagined as "An organic tweed cotton potato sack". And "Grandpa's Hat", which surely conjures decades of sweat, sebum, and Grecian Formula, gets a sanitizing makeover to "Strong coffee and the forest". In a hat?

Just when I'm about to offer my consulting services to Google, I notice one last thumbnail: a picture of a whoopie cushion captioned "April Fools' Day". The description: "Immature and cheesy, with a quick, bright finish".

Sounds about right. But Google, I'm still offering my services.


  1. Dear Katie
    Was this not a seasonal jest?
    Perhaps your post was too?
    Oh lord. Things are so confusing for a foolish Dandy around April time!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    1. Yes P. Dandy, a seasonal jest. As clarified for the less cognitively-fleet amongst us in my second-to-last paragraph. But I still maintain that Google Nose is a perfectly sensible and legitimate concept. I'm sure plenty of fumies saw it and harrumphed, "What's so April Fool-ish about that?"

  2. :)
    I think it's much better than "Electronics for cats" joke. Thank you for sharing: I was so busy yesterday that I've missed almost everything.

    1. Undina, I loved Google Nose's many "features" and wanted to get as much of it as I could down in the post for anyone who'd missed it.

  3. This was on the news yesterday. Alas, like many things, too good to be true. And just happened to hit the airwaves on April 1st, ah....

    Alas and alack, April Fools...


  4. I'm pretty sure I could waste more time on a site like that than on Pinterest. I have been known to read and watch perfume reviews and descriptions for hours at a time anyway, so why not branch out to belly buttons and hotel rooms?

  5. I thought this was so funny and creative when I signed onto Google. So many of my friends fell for it. This can become a reality in the future one day---how cool would that be!?

  6. Katie can you smell me? Or maybe just find me in your Inbox? (as per the contact tab above)
    I have a Beta site that is wafting with far more sillage than Google Nosejob.

    1. Just had a hop, skip and sniff around your blog, JR. Very fragrant, for sure. Check it out, all!

  7. 1:36 - 1:40 is priceless. Had a good laugh with this.