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!


  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.

  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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