Contrasts in How Google Suggests Searches

When you type a query into Google it will suggest the most popular completions to the given prefix.

There are some remarkable contrasts, Slate found, between "dumb" searches and "smart" ones. People who start their search "how 2" are more likely to search "how 2 get pregnant" or "how 2 grow weed." People who start their search "how one might" are more likely to search "how one might discover a new piece of music" or "how one might account for the rise of andrew jackson in 1828."

The most fascinating contrast is between "is it wrong to…" vs. "is it ethical to." One change in word generates very different suggestions.

"Is it wrong to…" generated the following suggestions:

091110_LH_isItWrongTo

Whereas "Is it ethical to" generated the following:

091110_LH_isItEthicalTo 

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Someone once told me that there is nowhere we are more honest than the search box. We don't lie to Google. Period. We type in what we're thinking — good, bad, and ugly. There's probably no piece of information that would better show what's on someone's mind than their stream of searches.

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