Hold the phone. Hold the freaking phone. A Google Game that generated pleasant surprise instead of soul-withering disappointment in humanity? Get out.
Cool games? Cool fonts? Cool websites? It’s what the internet is supposed to be about! Cool words and cool math games? I couldn’t be happier. Seeing those results puts me in such a good mood I don’t even feel like making fun of the people searching for cool quotes.
What I like about this set of Google suggestions is that it demonstrates some genuine, if misguided, attempts at self-edification.
I’m not quite sure why people are trying to find out what the most important languages are — can a language be unimportant? — and I don’t think that Catalogs.com’s list of history’s 10 most important people would have been my choice for top search result, but at least folks are trying, right?
Not long ago met a guy, a recent college graduate (well, it was art school), who has never read a novel. I was happy to guide him in the direction of a few potential first books, weighing his personality and interests, and managing to resist berating him mercilessly for his inexcusable illiteracy. I hope I make a lifetime reader out of him. Or at least that he reads one thing that’s not some highminded po-mo criticism bullshit. And I sincerely hope that some Google searching for most important books will lead to other hopeless illiterates picking up a volume or two. Maybe that’s a stretch, but at least “Most Important Websites” hasn’t made it to the top 10 yet.
I’m starting to think that maybe Google suggest isn’t the most accurate indicator of popular interest.
Maybe it’s my lazy reporting (the Unhappy Mediator is writing from the mountains this week, which may contribute to snowboardbummish journoblogger slackerdom), but I really don’t think that, like, so many people are searching for ways to get their sisters to sleep with them. Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be any interesting internet story behind “How do I get my sister to sleep with me?” No Christwire articles or anything. Just a handful of other autocomplete enthusiasts and a recent Yahoo Answers query, which seems to have been posted only recently — presumably after it started to receive bloggy attention. There’s some data mining here, surely, contributing to the painting of an inaccurate portrait of our collective search tendencies.
Then again, people are really into World of Warcraft and Farmville. Some people are, like, really, really into them. And some folks, I reckon, are really, really into family.
As we’ve seen before, searching Google is a popular and private way to express your deepest insecurities, while also getting to see that others out there are having the same worries. For instance:
Lotsa folks are unsure what other people think of them, and are trying to find out. Is it possible to drill down a little more, perhaps do a little demographic analysis? I think it is… Continue reading
For this week’s game we’re going to take it down in two parts. The top result doubtless has caught your attention by now, but we’ll return to that shortly. First, let’s tackle the seven items I’ve labeled a-through-g:
a. See (b.)
b. See (e.)
c. See (a.) & (b.)
d. See (c.)
e. See (f.)
f. Rewrite your resume, see (a.)
g. See (f.) & (c.) & (a.)
Now, click through for more on Canadians, and why you can’t have one.
As if fathers needed any help preserving the cause of the ubiquitous “dad joke.” In this week’s Google Game we stumble upon one more argument for instituting a maximum age for internet usage: the application to date my daughter.
What’s particularly remarkable about this painfully unfunny parody is that pages and pages (and pages) of search results reveal the same document over and over again, with almost no variation. It could potentially be the Web’s most robust document. Highlights after the jump.
Thanks to readers who have sent in their own Google Suggest suggestions. Here are a few searches that have caught the eyes of Unhappy Friends.
From Hilla P., Los Angeles, CA:
These results can be pretty neatly divided into 4 categories:
1. Health + hygiene (poop, hair, exercise)
2. Pet care (bathing the dog)
3. Car maintenance (lube, tires)
4. Financial distress (bankruptcy, donating blood)
The World Wide Web is just brimming with useful information, neatly packaged in quickly digestible bite-sized morsels of information, tagged and labeled for easy finding with the superlatives we crave. In our fast-paced society you don’t just want a way to a trimmer tummy, you want the Fastest Way to Flatter Abs. Strapped for cash? What’s the cheapest way to get to Mexico? (Try deportation.) Sexiest celebrities. Most extreme car chases. Man versus Beast. (OK, I got carried away. I just wanted an excuse to link to this. And this. And this!) Moral of the story, we want the best and we want it now. We also want the worst.
Being of a sophisticated and inquisitive nature, I decided today to Google search for “Butt.” As I finished the word the typical list of suggestions appeared:
But then, when I hit the spacebar, they all vanished. I tried again. And again, the same thing. No-space gave me butterfly tattoos and buttons. Space gave me bupkis. I wondered, “Is Google trying to tell me something?” I was no longer seeking mere search results; I was seeking answers. So I did what anyone would do. I typed in “Ass.”
Google is smart. And Google knows what you’re thinking. Soon you’ll be able to let Google do the thinking for you, but for now all it can do is help.
If you’re searching for Girl Drink Drunk, the classically hilarious Kids in the Hall sketch, it guesses your goal in two words. Or say you query “The Redhead” (in quest of Frank Bruni’s last review), Google lets you know that Google knows you’re referring to the restaurant in NYC.
Despite the eerie sensation of encroaching omniscience, Google’s search suggestions are still little more than a reflection of what we, conductors of the rumbling search engine, most often seek. The site itself explains – vaguely – that “as you type, Google Suggest communicates with Google and comes back with the suggestions we show….suggestions are drawn from…searches done by users all over the world, sites in our search index, and ads in our advertising network.” If you’re signed into your Google account and/or have your web history enabled, it also factors in your own sordid search past.
So what are we searching for? To answer the question I bring you the first weekly installment of the Google Game. Easier than Go Fish, and much more revealing: I type a word or incomplete phrase into the Google search bar and report back Google’s suggestions. Then we ruminate on our collective shame.
After the jump, Google Game Round 1.