15 October 2009

Google recently introduced a new feature to their google.com search engine. As you type google will give suggestions to the question you might be asking. These suggestions are based on popular searches that other users have made. There are some highly amusing ones out there but I notice that the initial phrasing of the suggestion is important:

"When did" returns the suggestions: elvis die, michael jackson die, michael jackson turn white

"In what year did" returns the suggestions: did the US declare independence from Britain, England defeat France in the battle of Agincourt

"How does" returns: it work, skype work, twitter work, swine flu kill

"Under what conditions" returns: can potassium bromide conduct electricity, does a patience need to be on a drop of glucose, does matter create light.

So if you want intelligent suggestions you need to use intelligent phrasing! It seems the old adage is true: Ask a silly question, get a silly answer.

Edit: There's now a website dedicated to it: http://autocompleteme.com



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