This was published more than 13 years ago
Attitudes and opinions change and evolve.
You know that feeling you get when you stumble upon something you wrote in the distant past and it's terrible? There are many cringe-worthy bits of immature writing on this website (and I'm probably still creating more).
As well as the mere cringe-worthy, there are also opinions and attitudes expressed that I no longer hold and am, frankly, embarrassed by. (Please don't go looking, they're deliberately hard to find, but left for the sake of posterity.)
I hope if you've stumbled across some here, you'll give me the benefit of the doubt.
It’s been a while since I released the original WDYS and since then I’ve slowly been working on a feature I wanted from the very beginning, but didn’t have time to implement: cross locale comparisons.
You can check them out now at What Do You Suggest v2.0.
Google’s suggestions are tailored to your location. So for any given set of terms, Google will suggest something different depending on where you are in the world. You can now compare the suggestions made by Google across two locations. To take a (somewhat topical) example, if you’re in Australia and you type the word Rudd into the Google search box, all of Google’s suggestions are related to ex-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. However a Canadian doing the same thing will get an entirely different set of suggestions, with zero overlap (here they are compared.)
Personally, I find it fascinating to expose the differences in suggestions. Let me know if you find anything fascinating.
Although the suggestions Google makes are drawn (as far as I know) directly from the frequency and volume of searches made by users, this demonstrates the potential Google has to influence what people see, hear and learn about the world. Do you think it could inadvertently reinforce prejudices and stereotypes or escalate nationalistic thought or behaviour?
I don’t expect the influence would be great, but it seems a logical conclusion to draw that it might have at least some effect. Especially when you consider that search results, not just suggestions are tailored to your location.
- If you’d like to see a specific location or language added, let me know
- I’ve added, a few locations and languages, but need additional help testing and adding letters, words and questions to the suggestion feature for languages other than English. Can you help?
- At the time of v2 release, Google doesn’t seem to be returning a count of results for each suggestion.