Google Suggest is quickly becoming my favorite Google tool.
Start typing a string into the Google search box and a cool list of AJAX-powered predicted finished queries are presented to you. “4 9 e” – ah, here it is “49ers schedule”. Very helpful. It seems simple and innocent enough.
But try typing “Christianity is ” or “Judaism is ” and you’ll see a potential problem. Offended much?
So why would Google suggest that “Christianity is bullshit” or that “Chinese people eat babies”? Well, technically they aren’t. YOU are.
Google keeps its Suggest algorithm under strict lock and key, however hints from Google insiders reveal that the suggestions are naturally what you’d expect – they are largely dependent on a search string’s popularity. Those offensive and juvenile suggestions exist because normal people like you and me have actually typed those exact words into Google. And it’s not just one person – tons of people are using that search phrase!
It’s hard to believe though, isn’t it? Are there really that many people searching for “jon stewart is a douchebag”?