Google’s Autocomplete Algorithm

October 21, 2010 - buddhism / capitalism / catholicism / christianity / cyberculture / ethics / experience / G**gle / information technology / internet / islam / jain / judaism / lexicon / mapping / neopagan / reality screen / science / software / surveillance

A friend shared this series of Google autocomplete search results on a social network, it contains screen captures of Google’s autocomplete feature along with a venn diagram produced from the resulting terms:
Archived Image of Google Autocomplete & Venn Diagram

I was curious if I would get the same terms, so I tried it. As soon as I found that my results for “Why are Buddhists” were different in than the screen capture in the image above I decided to take more of my own samples. I tried out a few religions that came to mind off the top of my head. Here are the results of my autocomplete searches, taken today between 11:11 and 11:15:

Google autocomplete is described as an “algorithm” that “offers searches that might be similar to the one you’re typing.” Based on the description below of how they are produced, you may have different results when you search:

As you type, Google’s algorithm predicts and displays search queries based on other users’ search activities. These searches are algorithmically determined based on a number of purely objective factors (including popularity of search terms) without human intervention. All of the predicted queries shown have been typed previously by other Google users. The autocomplete dataset is updated frequently to offer fresh and rising search queries. In addition, if you’re signed in to your Google Account and have Web History enabled, you may see search queries from relevant searches that you’ve done in the past.