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Google Search Suggestions are search terms and phrases recommended by the search engine as the user begins typing in a search query. Due to its reliance on algorithmic decision-making, the feature has gained notoriety for generating comically irrelevant, and sometimes controversial, search suggestions.
On August 25, 2008, Google added a feature to their search box that offers searches similar to the one you’re typing. The search suggestion feature had been in development since 2004. Google outlined three ways search suggestions would help users: by helping them formulate queries, reduce spelling errors and save keystrokes. In a post on their official blog announcing the release of the feature to all Google users they explained:
“We find that by providing suggestions upfront, we can help people search more efficiently and conveniently. "
On April 7th, 2009, Google added search suggestion to their image search.
On August 11th, 2009, Mashable published a post titled “Top 10 Funniest Google Suggest Results.”
On November 21st, 2009, College Humor posted an image parodying search box suggestions, including suggestions that ridiculed the searcher.
On January 6th, 2010, Oddee published a post titled “20 Bizarre Google Search Suggestions.”
On April 11th, 2011, vlogger John Green of the Vlogbrother’s uploaded a video to their YouTube channel in which he answered the top search suggestion questions Google supplied when he typed in “Is my b.” As of May 2014, the video has gained over 650,000 views.
On August 2nd, 2012, Buzzfeed published a post titled “21 Of The Most Outrageous Google Search Suggestions.” The site published several lists based on funny or surprising Google search suggestions in 2013 including, “The 19 Dumbest Things That Google Is Forced To Suggest,” and “Life’s Greatest Questions According To Google Searches.”
Parisian Love Parodies
Parisian Love Parodies also known as “search stories,” are a series of parody videos mimicking the format of Google’s first television commercial “Parisian Love,” which aired during Super Bowl XLIV. On November 19th, 2009, the “Parisian Love,” video was uploaded to Google’s official Search Stories YouTube channel. The minute-long advertisement tells the story of a guy trying to find love in France by using Google to search for things like “How to find a job in Paris” and “How to impress a French girl.” The video received over six million views in two years. The first parody was uploaded by YouTuber search story on December 2nd, 2009, and contained a search story about a surprise birthday party resulting in a heart attack.
Google Poetry refers to the unintentionally poetic autocomplete results displayed in Google search suggesstions, which are often shared in the form of screenshots on the community sites Tumblr and Reddit. On October 25th, 2012, the “Google Poetics” single topic Tumblr blog was launched, which highlights screenshots of poetic Google search suggestions. The first post highlighted a screenshot of several autocomplete results for the search query “why do you” (shown below).
Women Are Campaign
On October 13th, 2013, UN Women launched a gender equality campaign called the “Search Engine Campaign,” which featured images of women with their mouths covered by a search engine box. Phrases like “women need to,” and “women shouldn’t,” were written into the boxes, with the real Google search suggestions illustrating how pervasive sexist ideas about women are. The campaign was covered by many sites including Adweek and Jezebel.