100% Geek

Goats Teleported

The more exploratory of users may have noticed that the Task Manager in Google Chrome allows you to specify which fields you would like to display.
(The menu for this is on the context menu of the background panel, not the main area of the dialog.)

One of the 234 possible options (yes, I did count them) is the intriguing "Goats Teleported" field, which (when enabled) displays a number that increases at an alarmingly rapid rate.

Where are these goats coming from, and where are they being teleported to? Has anyone even noticed their disappearance?

Google returns a couple of theories, but disappointingly no solid information about these Capra aegagrus hircus and their mysterious movements.

Fortunately, with Google Chrome being [partially] Free Software under a BSD license, the source code is available to us inquisitive explorers, and it is possible for us to locate the appropriate parts of the code and find out exactly what powers it.

So, having downloaded the Chromium source, I set about searching for goats, and it wasn't long before I discovered their hiding place.

Within Chromium/src/chrome/browser/task_manager.h and Chromium/src/chrome/browser/task_manager.cc is where you will find information about these creatures and their teleporting antics.

The task_manager.cc script is where most of the references reside, starting with a reference to how important this feature is.

// An id for the most important column, made sufficiently large so as not to
// collide with anything else.
static const int64 kNuthMagicNumber = 1737350766;
static const int kBitMask = 0x7FFFFFFF;
static const int kGoatsTeleportedColumn =
    (94024 * kNuthMagicNumber) & kBitMask;

Followed shortly by the apparent answer to what makes this number tick?

    case kGoatsTeleportedColumn:  // Goats Teleported.
      goats_teleported_ += rand();
      return FormatNumber(goats_teleported_);

It's just randomly incremented ... rather disappointing?

But that was all too easy... perhaps this is just a trick, to throw us off the trail and prevent us from finding the real teleporter?

Within task_manager.h there is a curious clue...

  // See design doc at http://go/at-teleporter for more information.
  static int goats_teleported_;

Of course, //go/at-teleporter is not a valid location, (unless you happen to have a machine named 'go'), and attempting the obvious //google.com/at-teleporter results in a 404 error, as do various similar URLs.

If we can uncover the true location of this mysterious design doc, then perhaps we will be a step closer to Star Trek, via the teleportation of goats?