Google Auto Complete: Robots Have a Sense of Humor Too…
August 16, 2013
On a recent episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, he featured a new bit called “Screen Grabs” where viewers sent in odd things they have seen while surfing the web. Funny security codes, well timed ads, and amusing Google auto corrects where among those who made the list. The one that really tickled my fancy was the Google Auto complete to “when I am alone I..” the second choice being “pretend to be a carrot”. See Jimmy’s reaction here:
While this answer seems obscure it really makes one think on where Google is pulling out these search predications from. Like most things related to Google, it’s a simple answer clouded in a veil of mystery. Simple answer is that Google pulls these predictions from an algorithm that uses your personal search queries with popular searches used throughout the web to come up with what it thinks are the best possible endings to your search.
But does this really answer the mystery of the carrot? My initial thought was this person must have wondered about carrots and what it would like to be one in the past. Clearly this is a personalized answer that this particular viewer was trying to pass as obscure sighting. But sure enough when I typed in the same search in Google, I got the exact same list of possible searches, including “pretend to be a carrot”. Now as far as I remember, I have not had the urge to pretend to be a carrot (I’m a more of a banana kind of girl), so this couldn’t possibly come from my past searches. So is there secret society of carrot lovers that the general public is not aware? While not out of the question, I don’t think this is the case. I believe the best answer lies in the simple statement that Google makes that these answers are created without “any human intervention”. So while this little Google search query robot will get it right 90% of the time, there will be times when our results are skewed by its own personal interpretations and its desires to one day be a carrot.
To send us out, I thought it would be fun to share some of SEOhaus’ screen grabs we’ve saved along the way: