Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fun with Google Suggest Services

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Suggestion: Fun With Google Suggest

Google Suggest is a Google Search feature that automatically completes a search query with suggested phrases as you type in the Google search text field. Suggestions are meant to be helpful--but they can sometimes be funny, bizarre, or downright creepy.

We initially got lassoed into playing around with this Google feature when we noticed that select search queries were generating inexplicably odd auto-complete suggestions. The phrase "What would Jesus..." generated the suggestion "What would Jesus do for a Klondike bar?"

First, though, a bit of background. Google says that its software makes suggestions based on complex popularity algorithms that are designed to predict the queries you are most likely to want to submit. Suggestions appear in a drop-down menu; and next to the suggested search phrases are green numbers approximating how many search results each particular query would return.

Google Suggest works with current versions of the Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Chrome Web browsers. If you find the service annoying, you can turn it off by visiting your Google Preferences page.

We spent way too much time playing with this feature. We were hoping Google Suggest might shed some light on important questions such as “The meaning to life is...” But what we found instead was "The meaning to life is Christopher Walken." Who knew?

What follows are funny and sometimes insightful answers to random questions.

For more fun with Google services, check out:

  • -- The Strangest Sights in Google Earth
  • -- Strangest Sights in Google Street View
  • -- Google's Top 17 Easter Eggs, Gags, and Hoaxes

And as the search results pictured above suggest, when you've had your fill of fun with Google, you can turn your attention to "fun with goats."

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