Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Search Challenge (8/22/12): What am I doing?

Today a simple challenge to state, but probably fairly difficult to do.  

Below is a picture I took yesterday.  The question is pretty simple:

     What was I doing when I took this picture?  

Once you figure it out, the answer is pretty obvious.  (And no, the answer is not taking a picture...)  As you can guess, I'm standing in line.  But where, and why?    

And, as usual, please let us know HOW you figured it out, and HOW LONG it took you to do so.  

Search on!


  1. You were waiting in line at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. From the signage on the street, it appears that you are near a Hard Rock Cafe in the Netherlands. The only Hard Rock Cafe in the Netherlands is in Amsterdam. I searched for the location of the Hard Rock Cafe in Amsterdam in Google Maps and then searched for Randstad offices near there. There were two. One of them matched the office shown in the picture, located in a brick building. This office is across the street from the Van Gogh Museum. 5 minutes.

  2. Your were waiting the line to enter the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. The city reminded me of Amsterdam and in your picture there is a sign of the Hard Rock Café + a Randstad office. I look for both things in Amsterdam in Google Maps and since I did visit the same museum myself last year I supposed you were in front of it. Since it is very popular it is likely that you had to wait.

  3. You were strolling trough Amsterdam. Three minutes. The moving company is originally located in Haarlem?

  4. You were in Amsterdam standing in line for the Van Gogh Museum.

    Using the visual clues in the picture, searched for [ Hard Rock near Leidseplein ] Google helped me get the corrected spelling for Leidseplein by suggesting it since it was hard to make out. I could then tell you were in Amsterdam.

    Using Google Maps of where the Hard Rock Cafe is, I searched using Search Nearby Places for [randstad] using another visual clue.

    Next I went into street view to look around. The Randstad nearest the Hard Rock wasn't it but the second one was it. Double checked using other names of stores and the roof line of the buildings.

    Across the street is the Van Gogh Museum and street view shows people standing in line.

    3 minutes.

  5. You're about to go into the Van Gogh Museum!

    I saw the sign for "Hard Rock Cafe near Leidesplein", so popped that into google, which showed me results for Hard Rock cafe in Amsterdam. There was a map displayed, so I opened that up.

    The full picture shows a bank or something very professional with a sign that says "Randstad", so in google maps I did "Randstad near Hard Rock Cafe Leidesplein".

    First result back was Van Gogh museum, and I went into street view to check, and it was the same view, with the same buildings and signs.

    Took maybe 1-2 minutes. Let's go with 1 min 30 sec.

  6. this picture was taken in Netherlands somewhere near randstad office
    but I could not go further???!!!!

  7. about 20 minutes,
    google images didn't give me a clue, but
    first hardrock cafe leidseplein in the picture,
    so amsterdam it is,
    then searched for randstad amsterdam = uitzendbureau but didn't find the correct one in street view near hard rock cafe
    in google maps
    start people amsterdam, you can just see "people" in the image
    then google street view again
    and voila, you are standing in line for the van gogh museum to get tickets

  8. I believe that you were waiting to buy tickets/enter the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

    I downloaded the picture so I could blow it up in Photoshop to look for clues.

    I did a search for "Hard Rock near leidseplein" to find Amsterdam.

    I then tried to use google maps street view to look around near that Hard Rock cafe. But I couldn't find any building right there which matched.

    So I did another maps search for "randstad near Leidseplein amsterdam" ,

    Using street view at the second pin (Paulus Potterstraat 22, 1071 DA Oud-Zuid, Netherlands) showed the right building, and that it is across the street from the Van Gogh Museum.

  9. You are standing in line at the Van Gogh museum.

    I searched Google Maps for the location of the 'Hard Rock' cafe in Amsterdam. Then I searched Google Maps for all the 'randstad' locations in Amsterdam. I picked the closest ones, did a street view and found you were standing on Paulus Potterstraat. (It took me two tries since the first randstad location I picked was incorrect). I saw the ranstad in the picture, turned 180 degrees, and saw the Van Gogh museum. All in all, it took about 10 minutes. Great challenge!

  10. Language identified the country as Holland, and Hard Rock café pointed to amsterdam.
    I just searched for "Randstad Amsterdam" in Google maps and Street Viewed a few of the results.
    The third one was the same as on the picture.
    You were Queing for the Van Gogh Museum.
    took me about 5 minutes.

  11. Ha! Van Gogh Museum! It took me a while ~ 10 min.

    First I searched google maps for Hard Rock Cafe Leidseplein and found out your were in Amsterdam and the general area in the city I should search for.

    Then I searched google images with your picture a few different ways but didn't get anything useful out of it.

    So I went back into google maps and searched for Randstad. That narrowed the places I had to visually search on street view. Tried a couple places closer to Leidseplein but nothing matched. Zoomed out a bit and noticed a Randstad near the Van Gogh museum, went for it and found it!

  12. Hello!!
    Once again thank you for the challenge.
    I guess you must like Van Gogh because you were in line for the Van Gogh Museum.
    What I did was search for the company Randstad showing on the right and searched on Google Maps for the office close to the Hard Rock cafe that´s near Leidseplein as in the direction board in the middle of the photo. After that was just a matter of using street view. It took me around 8 minutes but it could be faster if my connection was any better.

    Once again thank you for the challenge.

  13. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam!

    1. Hard rock cafe leidseplein (clue: Amsterdam)
    2. Nearest Randstad office
    3. Google streetview to check if it's the right one
    4. No it isn't, look at the second one
    5. See what's in front

  14. You are staying in the queue to Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam).
    The search took about 10 minutes.
    At first, I tried to find something using the image search but it didn't help in this case. Next I zoomed in the picture and recognized something like "Hard Rock Cafe near Leidzeppelin". I made a search on the google maps and got "Amsterdam". Next clue was "Randstad". I found all "Randstad" near the hard rock cafe on the maps and used Street View mode to understand which was on the picture. After a couple of tries I finally came up with the very one. That's it.

  15. Daniel, you are standing in line before the van Gogh Museum in the Paulus Potterstraat in Amsterdam. I suppose you are waiting to buy a ticket.

    I recognized on your picture some Dutch text on a car and two logo’s of employment agencies in the Netherlands: Start People and Randstad. Further I see some characteristic Amsterdam buildings.

    Searching for addresses of the employment agencies in Amsterdam I found they are based on Paulus Potterstraat 28 and Paulus Potterstraat 22. Opposite in the street is the van Gogh Museum.

    It took me about 5 minutes to figure out where you are.
    BTW I live in the Netherlands ;)

  16. You are on line at the Vincent Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam Netherlands. From the press releases of the museum I'd guess you were there to see Dreams of nature: Symbolism from Van Gogh to Kandinsky. They had an astonishing 413,363 art lovers visit the exhibit by June 22 of this year. From the photo I assumed it as from the Netherlands and I searched for offices of Randstad Nederland near a Hard Rock cafe. It took less than 10 minutes.

  17. Did this as a task with a group of learners - took us about an hour.

    Started with using Google Translate to identify the language on the van.

    Then checked Hard Rock Cafe website for list of locations in the Netherlands. Then Randstad's for locations in the city, then used maps to find one with signpost distance of Hard Rock Cafe.

    Google Streetview to find the distinctive red brick building then spun round to see the museum.

    Wanted to know why there was a queue so checked museum's website and Twitter feed for events but found none.

    But a straight Google search with the name of the museum and the date produced Tripadvisor as the top hit saying there's ALWAYS a queue!

    So we reckcon you're outside the Van Gogh Museum.

    1. Leiafee -- I'm curious, can you tell me a bit more about your "group of learners"? Did you folks take my "Power searching with Google" MOOC a little while ago? We'll be doing another one soon, in case your learners want to get in on the class.

      And yes, there's ALWAYS a queue.


    2. No, it's a work based learning course with 16-17 year-olds on something called a 'Traineeship' programme here UKside. We tend to find that even quite confident web users lack practice at framing a search problem in term they can actually start putting into search engines and struggle with these kind of 'rummaging for the answer' type search skills, as well as sometimes lacking persistence when the answer's not the first page of Google!.

      So this was an experiment in using a challenge like this. Worked well, I'll definitely be using it again. I think they quite liked the fact that 'teacher' didn't know the answer either!

    3. very cool to see that you don't spent all your time in front of a computer screen - your 'traineeship" group is fortunate to have a multi-faceted 'teacher' - an invaluable skill in the non-pixel world. Soar on...
      great comment:
      in the left seat
      not the virtual world

  18. Easiest one for a while, Daniel!

    1) Look up 'Luykx Verhuizingen' pinned it down to the Netherlands.
    2) Step to was looking for branches of Randstad (many) near the Hard Rock Cafe Netherlands (only one in Amsterdam).
    3) It wasn't the obvious nearest one but Google Streetview confirmed it was a branch not so far. So...
    4) Rotate my Streetview and it gives me the Van Gogh Museum.
    5) Onto the Van Gogh Museum website (in English) says there were two exhibitions on: Beauty in abundance and Van Gogh's studio practice: Canvases re-used.!

    Less than 10 minutes.

    Hope you enjoyed your trip,

  19. You were at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The difficult part was to find out which city you were in. It took me a while to decipher the Hard Rock Café sign, but I managed to read something like leidse... and in a search for [hard rock cafe leidse...] in Google (not Google Maps), Google suggested leidseplein. From there, it was easy to get to Google Maps, and type in the only other readable sign for a nearby search: Randstad. A few attempts at Google street view were needed to find the right street and then a 180 degrees turn informs us you were waiting to get into the museum. In all, I'd say 15 minutes, of which 10 were devoted to trying to make out what was written on the Hard Rock Cafe sign.

  20. Waiting to get into the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

    Two signs: Hard Rock Cafe and something that says Holland. Looking at the Hard Rock website I see there's only one in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam. Look up Randstat on google maps near the Hard Rock and I see two. Using street view, I find the one that matches the picture and see it's across the street from the museum.

    About 15 minutes.

  21. You were at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Unsure if it was for a specific event, though maybe the 'brining science into art' debut.

    It took about 10 minutes or so. I use the van in the picture to determine it was a moving company in Amsterdam. I also knew it was near the Hard Rock (sign) and that you were across from a Randstad.

    So, I used Google maps to search for the Hard Rock in Amsterdam, then searched nearby for Randstad and chose the ones nearby in street view. It happened to be the third one I chose, go figure.

  22. Were you standing in line to go the the Vincent van Gogh Museum? If so, I'm extremely jealous! :)
    This took me about 15-20 minutes all told (including the time I spent to see what fatastic exhibit you were going to see).
    I googled Randstad and lukyx verhuizingen to determine you were in the netherlands, then checked to see where Hard Rock's presense is in the Netherlands. Then I just used Google Maps to map the hard rock, used the "search neaby" feature to find randstand offices close to it, and found you and your line! Maybe not the most direct approach, but very fun!

  23. Luykx Verhuizingen at van leads to Haarlem, Amsterdam.
    Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam (sign) position on Maps
    Randstad within 500m of Hard Rock Cafe on Maps
    Street view Paulus Potterstraat / Randstad looks like photo
    Opposite is the Van Gogh Museum where you’re standing in cue.
    ca 15 min.

  24. Waiting in line to get into the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. It appears to be morning, based on the shadows.
    Searching took about 10 minutes on google maps, beginning with a search for "Hard Rock Cafe" and then "Randstad", followed by a little wandering in street view.

  25. Waiting to buy ticket for the VanGog museum in Amsterdam.

    Search path:
    Since I'm following iiix2012 remotely, I knew you are there now in Nijmegen and thus that you were probably in Nederland yesterday. I saw the "hard rock café" sign in the picture, so I searched for them on google map in Nijmegen. No hit, So I searched directly on their official website their multiple location in Europe and there is only one in Nederlands : in Amsterdam. Back on Google map, I locate the café and then searched for "randstad" which appear behind the tuck on the picture (better view in full screen). As this is a bank, there is a lot of location in Amsterdam, but not that much close to the hard rock café and even less with a possible sign for the right direction. Looking on 1/2 locations with street view I found the place and you are obviously in front of the museum...

    So background knowledge (iiix and nederlands as well as randstad), observation (hard rock sign and randstad again), and knowledge on how of find location (ie google map + official sites).

    Nice challenge, first solved for me (in few minutes). Too bad I'm not in iiix to discuss about that one face to face ;-)

  26. I recognized Amsterdam right away, but I wasn't sure exactly where the photo was taken. I saved the picture so I could zoom in, and took the following clues from the picture: Hard Rock Cafe, Holland Casino, and Randstad. I looked up Hard Rock Cafe and Holland Casino and saw that they were pretty close together, then I looked for Randstads nearby using google maps. First I saw one Randstad near the Heineken Brewery and thought you were on a brewery tour, but when I used Street View, the scenery did not match your picture. Then I checked the Randstad on Paulus Potterstraat, which looked exactly like your picture in streetview. I checked across the street and saw that you were at the Van Gogh Museum.
    Took about 20 minutes because I got distracted re-living my honeymoon via streetview. Have fun in Amsterdam; be sure to get apple pie from Winkel in Noordermaket Square!

  27. You can also use the relative positions of the poles/buildings to the Google Street View map to see that you are just about at the front of the line. I would say that you were waiting in line for a long while, but considering it seems to be early morning (the shadows on the poles are pretty long, and the builders/movers are at work across the street), the travel blogs suggest you might have been able to beat the lines!

  28. Queuing for the Van Gogh museum. Open the pic, zoom to Hard Rock Leidseplein (to locate as Amsterdam), zoom to Randstad (to define a listed entity), search [randstad Leidseplein] in maps to get close, then [randstad] to get other local sites on the map, then streetview to the one in the middle of a nearby road, check the image matches and the scroll around 180 deg. to identify the museum.

    5 mins.

  29. 17:43
    1) Holland casino sign - found web site -> too many locations; But now I knew it is in Holland.
    2) Hard rock coffee sign - found on website the address of Hollands hard rock -> Amsterdam.
    3) Randstad office - (Google maps and localizations)
    4) On google maps (street view + satellite view), I looked at all locations of randstad offices in Amsterdam and found the right one.
    5) And on the other side of the street is VanGogh museum. -> So the picture was taken while standing in the line for a ticket. 17:54
    Time: 11 minutes (+phone call ;) )

  30. First I searched for [ luykx verhuizing ], the sign on the truck, and I located the picture as being in Amsterdam. After that it was quite easy to locate the correct [ randstad ] bureau near the only [ Hard Rock Cafe in Amsterdam ] using GMaps and street view.

  31. I am still working on this search after an hour and a half. Within 5 minutes I found that the picture was taken in line at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Since this seemed very easy compared to normal searches, I am trying to find what date the picture was taken, thinking there is an event at the Museum I might look up.

    I first searched for "luykx verhuizingen" to find the company whose logo is on the side of the white van. This revealed Amsterdam, Netherlands. From there, I searched for "Hard Rock Cafe, Amsterdam, Netherlands" to get me close. I used the Search Nearby tool to look up "Randstad" and lined up your picture with Street View.

    I am possibly stuck trying to make this more difficult. Maybe I am trying to read to hard into your challenge. I have concluded the picture must have been taken before April of 2011 because Feeks is being advertised. Feeks opened at Holland Opera in April of 2011. Also, the most recent Google Street view of September 2010 shows the business across the street as Unique with a blue logo, your picture shows Start People with an orange logo. I am going to stop searching now, but am curious how specific you were when requesting why you were standing in line.


    1. Redleader, he states that he took this photo yesterday.

    2. Searching in all the wrong spots. face palm.

  32. I enlarge picture and saw Hard Rock Cafe near Leidseplein (google gave me the right spelling), Holland Casino and Randstad. With that found you are in Amsterdam. Then search what you doing. I though you were on Train Station. I was wrong, later found the right place.

  33. Early post, Euro time - felt like I was too late, but good for your followers there, not so much here @ el norte MacNurdo... & indeed.
    Good luck with the Friday keynote - What does it mean to be literate in the age of Google?
    am curious about this though - TechCrunch/JooJoo?¿? ... briefly at a startup that developed tablet computers before the iPad.

  34. Waiting for the Van Gogh Museum

    1. Searched for Luykx Verhuizingen and found out it was a Dutch company based out of Haarlem, near Amsterdam.
    2. Searched for Hard Rock Cafe locations in Holland. Only one and it is in Amsterdam.
    3. In Google Maps, I zoomed in on the Hard Rock Cafe and searched for Ranstadt and looked at street view to see if the store was a brick building matching the picture. When I found the right store, I rotated the street view to see what was across the street.

    Time: 5 minutes

  35. Maybe you should hide the comments until more of us have had a chance to try our luck. I got as far as Googling Randstad, Amsterdam, and Hard Rock and the solution popped right up in the regular Google search.

    1. Darn that rapid indexing at Google!

      But you're right. I'll delay posting any comments in future until at least 3PM PT, giving people around 8 or 9 hours to work on the challenge. Check in again next week, when the comments will be held-up for a bit.

  36. Looked up the name on the side of the truck and found out you were in the Netherlands. Looked for the Hard Rock Cafe in the Netherlands (only one). Looked for Randstad offices nearby until I found the right one. Turned around and saw the Van Gogh Museum. That must be where you were.

    15 minutes.

  37. 1) Luykx on truck. The first two Google hits are notable Belgians. This is likely in a Dutch speaking location. Belgium, or the Netherlands. We'll start with Belgium.
    2) Look for a Hard Rock Cafe in Belgium. This yields the recently opened Hard Rock Brussels. July 31, 2012. The location on the map isn't promising. I've been to the Brussels Grand Place, and the picture is definitely not there.
    3) Street View, Randstad Brussels, nope. Doesn't look like it.
    4) Lets try the Netehrlands. Streetview: Randstad in Amsterdam. Yep!
    5) And it's right across the street from the Van Gogh Museum, where you're waiting in line.

    It took me about 10 minutes to find. Though if I'd clicked on the high resolution picture on Lifehacker I would have seen "Leidseplein", which Chrome autocompletes as "leidseplein amsterdam". This would have saved me the incorrect Belgian guess.

  38. Same strategy as many have used above, in about ten minutes (slow-ish connection).

    1. Saw that "Leidesplein" was that-a-way, and you were across the street from "Randstad".
    2. Google search [leidesplain]. Learned that it is a place in Amsterdam.
    3. Google Maps: [randstad near leidesplein]. Found three candidates.
    4. Thanks to Street View, saw that the Randstad in the photo is the one on Paulus Potterstraat, across the street from the Van Gogh Museum, where you were presumably waiting in line to see an exhibit.
    5. Felt envy, as I am a big fan of Van Gogh. :)

    Tried for extra credit:
    6. Direction of shadows in photo show that you got there early.
    7. Zoomed in tight on Google Maps satellite for triangulstion; you took the photo while standing near the foot of the steps.
    8. Went to museum website to see if I could guess which exhibit you were waiting on; no luck guessing between the two advertised there.

  39. 1. Enlarge picture. Search hard rock café leidseplein from the sign in google maps
    a. This is in Amsterdam
    2. Now search nearby for Randstad, a store in the background.
    3. Use street view to find the correct one. Which is Paulus Potterstraat 22
    4. Turn around on street view to see that it is the Van Gogh Museum.
    5. Google search van gogh museum to find out what event was on. Turns out it was just a regular day at the museum and you were standing in line.
    This took about 5 minutes

  40. Daniel,

    It took me about 20 seconds of looking at the photo to know you were in Amsterdam. I used to live there, and the Hard Rock sign mentions the Leidseplein, a central gathering spot in the heart of the city. The facades, the Randstad also clued me into the location. Everyone else seems to think you were going to the museum. I, on the other hand, believe you were waiting on the tram to get to the Heineken brewery!

  41. Waiting to enter the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    less than two minutes:

    1. Hard Rock Cafe sign in the picture mentions 'near Leidseplein' -> Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    2. Building across the street houses a 'Randstad'-office -> Google Maps query for: Randstad, Amsterdam
    3. Several hits on Google Maps -> Check street view image for buildings shown in the picture -> Paulus Potterstraat, Amsterdam
    4. Enter streetview mode and "turn around" to look at the spot where the picture was taken -> Google indicates that it's the Van Gogh Museum

  42. First I tried not to look at comments so as to not ruin the fun!

    1. I started by taking the image URL into google images, which confirmed amsterdam and which randstand building it was.
    2. I then looked for the randstad buildings in the vicinity of the Amsterdam hard rock cafe
    3. Street view determined the final position of the Van Gogh museum and the heavy lines.

  43. Started by searching for "Luykx verhuizingen" written on the truck, found they're a moving company in Haarlem (near Amsterdam). Then, I found the Amsterdam Hard Rock Café in Google Maps, and located the nearby Randstad locations. Then I used Street View to check, and recognized the area at the Van Gogh Museum. 5 minutes.

  44. My guess is waiting to get into the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

    11.40: Noticed signs were written in Dutch, Googled for "Hard Rock Cafe Leiseplein"
    11.45: Dropped the photo itself into Google image search to see if there were any matches, found nothing new
    11.50: Went to lunch
    12.25: Told a friend about the challenge and showed him the photo; he suggested searching for Randstadt addresses near HRC
    12.50: Came back from lunch, Google map searched for "Randstad near Hard Rock Cafe, Max Euweplein 57- 61, Amsterdam, The Netherlands"
    12.55: Found the proper Randstat, and judging on the way the people in line are facing, supposed they were waiting for the Van Gogh museum.

    This challenge made me think it would be neat if Google could somehow index street views for searching -- it would have made locating the proper Randstadt much faster. Maybe that's not tenable though. Thanks for the challenge!!

  45. Standing in line for the Van Gogh Museum.

    1. Googled "Randstad" to find out it was a Netherlands Company.
    2. Use the Google Translator language auto detect for the word "luykx verhuizingen" to find that it was Dutch
    3. Googled "hard rock cafe netherlands" to find the address
    4. Put in the address of the hard rock café into google maps to get the location
    5. Did a search nearby for "Randstad" and the 2nd result's street view matched the picture and just rotated around to find the Museum

  46. In line for Van Gogh museum:
    1. Google search "Hard Rock Cafe Leidseplein"
    2. Google map search "ronstad" near Hard Rock Cafe Amsterdam
    3. Used street view to confirm location and see nearby attractions that would inspire someone to wait in line.