I’m sure I’m not the first to waste hours futzing around with Google Autocomplete. If you don’t know what Autocomplete is, it’s that neat little Google feature that tries to guess what your searching for before you finish typing your query (see pic below).
I decided to make my futzing (slightly!) more scientific and thought I’d try using Autocomplete to find out what people around the world are asking Google. I typed “is ” (is with a <space>) into Google.com, Google.co.uk, Google.fr, Google.sg, Google.com.au and Google.it.
The results were pretty awesome. One thing I learned is that evidently a lot of people turn to Google to find out about death or disease (or for some reason Google is overly morbid in its predictions). About 40% of the suggestions Google made to complete “Is” across all Google sites queried were some variation of “Is Denise Dead?” (Chuck Bass, Pietro Taricone, Tiesto and the Undertaker were among 7 other individual whose death was in question) or “Is shingles contagious?” (tonsillitis, croup (!), and AIDS were among the other diseases whose contagiousness the world questioned).
Disclaimer: graphical pie chart is 100% non-statistically significant and was calculated on the back side of a paper napkin.
A few more facts and fun searches I learned along the way:
- “Is Denise from East Enders dead?” (UK) I wasn’t able to find out the answer to this. I have emailed actual british people to find out their thoughts. I suspect people don’t know or I have gotten much worst at searching. In any event, it was the top auto-complete suggestion in the UK for “Is “, and East Enders is a long-running TV program.
- “Is Lady Gaga a man?” (UK, Australia, Canada and Singapore) Evidently, Lady Gaga’s gender is questioned throughout the world?! Funny. My research concludes she wears meat dresses, yes, but is still a women biologically speaking.
- “Est-ce que Justin Bieber parle Francais?” (France, translation: can Justin Bieber speak French?) Oui. According to several sites he is Canadian and speaks fluent French. I also learned that his dog Sam is his best friend and that all he does is “shake his hair” to style it. Cute.
- “Is it down?” (Australia, Canada) It could be. http://www.isitdown.com is a site that tells you if any site, is, um, down.
- “Is it Thursday?” (UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore) Visit http://www.isitthursday.com to find out. I wasn’t able to figure out the origins or popularity of this (pseudo?) meme. Do you know anything about it?
- “Is shingles contagious?” (UK, Australia, Canada) It’s kinda contagious. It is also pretty scary. The deal is if you have shingles you can give chicken pox to someone who hasn’t had that virus, but you can’t pass on shingles itself. Shingles is a kind of rebirth of the virus that once caused you to have chicken pox. Also, while it is contagious and you can in fact pass on chicken pox to someone else, they have to come into close physical contact with the actual pox or blisters. Breathing on someone won’t do it.
- “È già ieri?” (Italy, translation: it’s already yesterday) Turns out this is a reference to a film - an Italian remake of Groundhog Day. Cool. The funny part is that in English it’s called Stork Day. Hm.
Stay tuned for next week when we investigate “Can___ “.