or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Google and Predictive Searching

   December 15th, 2009

Google Autocomplete for Swiss Army L...Jessamyn links to an interesting article about Google's switch to personalized searching - really, check it out, because it will impact patrons using public computers.

But it also reminded me of how much more prevalent Google's autocomplete feature has seemed lately. I know it's been around for awhile, but I've noticed it more for some reason, and have also been seeing it in Google's ads on Hulu.com (which I oddly could not find to link to), failblog, YouTube* and elsewhere.

So I got curious about what the Google zeitgeist would say about library-related phrases - here's what I found:

Libraries are

Librarians are

The library is
(a band)

My Librarian is
(a children's book)

Librarians never
(They just check out? They get weeded? They become overdue?)

And I had to try this too:
Brian is
(I think most of these are Family Guy references.)

Update 1/11/10: Using Google suggestions, check out the difference between what girlfriends and boyfriends are thinking.


*The one at 2:39 is my favorite. Actually, a lot of them are probably song lyrics, but how often do you come across a Dead Milkmen reference?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to “Google and Predictive Searching”

  1. Australian Woman Says:

    This is awesome!!! There should be more exercises with what Google Autocomplete returns.

    Love it!

  2. Cari Says:

    Thanks Brian! I don’t think I would have known about this without this post. I searched “Cari” and got my own full name (which was creepy enough) and then a bunch of words that start with “Cari” (Caribou Coffee, Caribbean, etc.)

  3. Local History Librarian Says:

    >how often do you come across a Dead Milkmen reference?

    Every day when I ride in my bitchin’ camaro, which is surprisingly popular with four-year-old library vistors.

  4. Swiss Army Women’s Officer’s 1884 watch #241033 | Cheap Buy Deal Says:

    […] Swiss Army Librarian » Google and Predictive Searching :: Brian Herzog […]

  5. shushie Says:

    I don’t know when it changed, but until very recently, when one typed “I like to” into Google, the autocomplete suggested as the first choice the very weird “I like to tape my thumbs to my hands to see what it would be like to be a dinosaur”.

    I don’t know who searches for these things.

  6. google autocomplete tells us the true nature of libraries? « Across Divided Networks Says:

    […] Posted in Uncategorized tagged funny, google at 4:53 pm by Andromeda A librarian plays with Google’s autocomplete feature. Hilarity ensues. […]

  7. Jimbo Says:

    This is very interesting, have a look at the terms “wife” and “girlfriend”…the results are from funny to shocking in my opinion.

  8. Brian Herzog Says:

    A few other interesting phrases to try:

    • Google is
    • Yahoo is
    • God is