On a mission to find out how to do something, I got so distracted by Google Suggest that I’ve completely forgotten what I was trying to learn to do in the first place.
“Google Suggest offers searches by other users that are similar to the one you’re typing”1 based on some super algorithm that takes in to account, among other things, popularity of the search term and your region (eg. google.com.au will differ from google.co.uk).
So Australians appear to be a complex bunch – when they’re not busy figuring out how to woo, fondle and bonk, they’re trying to look their best to get a job training a dragon2.
Google Australia - "how to" search
So what about Google.com? The US is similar to Australia but, rather than just have sex, they want to get pregnant while playing games and downloading videos.
Google.com - "how to" search
And Google.co.uk? They seem to be a cartoon-drawing spotty mix of the Australians and the Americans.
Google.co.uk - "how to" search
Finland on the other hand are so dragon-fixated that they’ll break the law by rolling a joint while waiting for their torrents to download.
Google.fi - "how to" search
And if we try an equivalent of “how to” in Finnish, among similar ideas of losing weight, kissing, getting pregnant, and training dragons (lohikäärme = dragon if you were interested), they also want to know how to hit a woman, how to make a fever go higher and how to make a bomb.
Google.fi - "kuinka" search
I wonder if Google is encouraging people to search for odd terms by displaying Google Suggest for basic terms like “how to”. I was about to search for something but the list that appeared distracted me (“Would kids see this? Why is there an apostrophe after sex? If unemployment isn’t so bad why is everyone doing job applications?”). If you allow the distraction, click on one of the suggestions, are you increasing the popularity of that search term thereby keeping it in the suggested terms for a longer period of time? Will the quirky searches rise through the ranks to take up the top spots?
1. Google Suggest
2. Okay, I know it’s actually a movie but I prefer my take on it.