Google Suggests a pre-emptive text search

A short video to show how Google Suggest works and to imagine how this might change people’s behaviours if it gets deployed as the default search mode.

If I’m right and Google are seriously considering releasing this live then how big a change do you think it will mean and what are the implications for search engine results overall if Google Suggest slips into widespread use?

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4 Responses to Google Suggests a pre-emptive text search

  1. Campbell M says:

    Google Suggest feature has been available in Firefox for over three years. It’s brilliant. I use it or ignore it as it fits in with what I was thinking of typing – or – in a moment of being a bit brain dead about what to type – let it help me. In the former case I use it as a sort of autocomplete tool. In the latter case, I’m at the mercy of Google which I was anyway, without the tool. I just get there faster.

    In fact, it’s so good that I avoid using the main Google window which doesn’t/didn’t have it. I even use it to check the correct spelling of words without having to do a full search.

    It’s entirely possible that the suggestions are driving my search in a different direction to that which I had originally thought to do – however – Google Search does a great deal of “suggesting” besides just Google Suggest. For instance, the “Did you mean … xxx” and the weighting of the search results themselves – so the premise is not really new – just happening earlier in the piece.

    Are Google steering me into what they want me to search for rather than what I intended to search for? It’s sort of a schrodinger’s cat paradox – but my intuition tells me that they’re not – since I often reject the suggestions if it’s not what I was thinking to search for.

    • Andy Roberts says:

      You’re quite right that Google already does a fair amount of suggesting. As well as “Did you mean…” there’s also personalised search results, and weighting based on the location of the searcher. I suspect that for each of us as an individual, we feel as if we are still making our own choices but if we look at the behaviour of groups of people en masse, as generalised traffic, then it is being directed to some extent, and the release of Google Suggest into the default search will increase that extent considerably.

      I wonder how much preemptive text messaging has altered the vocabulary used by SMS text messagers on mobile phones.

  2. Christopher D. Sessums says:

    You make a subtle, yet poignant observation. A strong example of coded agency i.e., the power now afforded those that write the programs that we use. Fascinating!

  3. JamesDX says:

    Anyone know how to do things like this?

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