Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Is it a good idea to..."

That's how I was starting a query into my search engine with the idea of exploring the pros and cons of students borrowing money to pay for college. I got stopped in my tracks by the automatic completions proposed by the search engine:

-Is it a good idea to microwave an airbag?
-Is it a good idea to lease a car?
-Is it a good idea to join the marines?
-Is it a good idea to get back with your ex?
-Is it a good idea to invest in gold?

Now I can't stop staring at them. Microwave an airbag?!?? These automatic completions of search queries offer amazing snapshots of the public mind.

And here's the big question: what does it all mean? If the first thing an internet user is wondering about is whether to microwave an airbag, is it a sign that this society is bored to death?

UPDATE: I changed my search settings to turn off the automatic completion option. It's fun, but very distracting!

2 comments:

  1. Keep in mind, too, that if you are logged in to gmail, say, then the automated completion is personalized. So google thinks that you are a "microwave an airbag" type.

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  2. Anonymous, you just reminded me of why I don't like to use gmail.

    Doesn't google also keep the history of my previous searches? Since I may have done this on our shared desktop computer at home, those suggestions could reflect google's profiling of my teenage son...

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