Friday, October 20, 2006

Google writes posts too

I just noticed when you search through Google's toolbar -- as opposed to its main website -- it gives you suggestions based not only on your own previous searches, but also the searches of other Google users.

I figured this out earlier today when I used the toolbar to confirm my spelling of "Ken Mehlman." Once I typed his name it immediately suggested a bunch of searches that get to Mehlman being Jewish and gay (ie Ken Mehlman gay, Ken Mehlman Jewish.)

This baffled me because my knowledge of Mehlman's Judaism and homosexuality way precedes my current computer -- so those couldn't be my searches. It was then I realized the toolbar was giving me the collective search wisdom of the whole entire Google universe.

So I ran a bunch of more famous political figures, as well as a few of the interweb's most searched names, through the toolbar. Here are the results:

George Bush: Quotes, jokes, biography, pictures, senior, cartoon, cocaine.

Bill Clinton: Biography, library, pictures, quotes, impeachment, foundation, speeches, grammy, social security.

Hillary Clinton: Collapses, faints, abortion, biography, 2008, for president.

John Kerry: Daughters, biography, jokes, as super chicken virus, sucks, pictures, wife.

John McCain: Biography, 2008, age, POW, for president, born, pledge of allegiance, senator

Lindsay Lohan: Lyrics, pictures, wallpaper, gallery, bikini, photo, speaks.*

Paris Hilton: Video, address book, hack, cellphone, sidekick.

Scarlett Johanasson: Pictures, wallpaper, Esquire, bio, Jewish, height.**

Another good way to waste time is a first name war. For example, if you type "Bill" you surprisingly get Cosby and Gates before Clinton. And Hillary loses to Swank and Duff. While Lohan is second Lindsay to no one.

But it's not just the Clintons who get the shaft. Both Bushs lose George to Washington. Even when you type "George W."

George Washington might be father of our nation but, unless everyone is using "President Bush" to search, Washington's Google predominance makes me question if the toolbar's suggestions are weighted purely in terms of popularity, as I had assumed. Still, it's good times on a Friday afternoon.

* I know W. is the president and all, but the fact he gets cocaine and Lohan doesn't really makes me think the results aren't properly weighted. In fact, it calls into question the integrity of every search I've ever done on Google.

** Height appears early and often in most actor searches.

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