February 25, 2011

Progress on the Autocomplete Data

We want to pass along a big FloatingSheep thanks to those who have posted their autocomplete search data. (See the instructions below if you'd like to contribute). Thanks to...

  • Carpiediem-Hong Kong Island
  • Katharine-Cardiff, UK
  • Daniel-Montreal, QC
  • Sarah-Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Megan-Ithaca, NY
Your participation has been a great help and has allowed us to take the first look at some of the spatial differences between autocomplete. Click on the image below to get a bigger image of some the results so far. The cells in yellow are ones that stand out as different/interesting.

  • The U.S. remains very focused on the 50 year old events of the Cuban missile crisis while other places are clearly not. We're particularly amused that Cuba Gooding Jr. is the top result in Hong Kong.
  • While we feel a bit bad for the country of Israel we can't help but love the fact that Israel Kamakawiwo'ole seems to be the top ranked result for the keyword "Israel" the world over.
  • We also suspect that Macau is likely not thrilled with its association with Macaulay Culkin, although the results for Hong Kong (ferry) show that proximity can win out over celebrity.
  • The connection between Kazakhstan and adoption in the U.S. and Canada is interesting as we've previous discussed.
  • The India, Canada, Nicaragua and Hong Kong results are all good examples of localization in search results.

We encourage all of you to help us continue to flesh out our Autocomplete map of the world by contributing your own search results using Autocomplete. If you follow the link you will find an open spreadsheet to record the results. But before you do, please follow the steps below to make sure that your results are not being affected by your own search patterns.

It's important that your searches not be tailored to you as an individual, but be reflective of your general location, the time at which you searched and Google's suggested search results. In order to control for these factors (and a whole host of others), please follow these directions if you want to contribute:

  • Be sure to be signed out of your Google Account while you search on Google. If you are signed in to your Google Account, your search experience may be customized based on your own personal past searches (which would no doubt be fascinating to your friends and family) but is NOT what we're after. Learn how to turn off these customizations.
  • Remove particular searches from your Web History at www.google.com/history, or by clicking the "Remove" links that appear beside personalized predictions.
  • Remove Web History from your Google Account.
  • Type the country name without a space at the end. If you're curious, compare how "Australia" and "Australia " (notice the space) give different results.
  • Copy the FIRST search term that comes up in to the online spreadsheet.
  • There are 250 or so countries names in total. If you can't do all of those, we've prioritized the top 150 for you to complete.
  • We're primarily interested in people outside of the US and the UK but we'll take anyone's help, no matter where they are. Also we're limiting ourselves to the English name of countries for now.
Good luck and thanks!


  1. Hi, I just interviewed someone for the Nestoria AU blog about a similar Autocomplete project - his name is Simon Elvery, and you can see his interview, with all the links to his stuff, here: http://blog.nestoria.com.au/nestoria-interview-simon-elvery-creator-of-we

    Hope that helps!

  2. Hi there,
    I'm Sarah from Germany who participated in this little "Google World Tour". What I want to note is that I am absolutely sure I would get different results if I used German search terms such as "Frankreich" instead of "France". So what about searching in the particular country's language and then translating the result into English?

    Example: For "France" I get "France 2", for "Frankreich" I get "Regionen" which means "regions".


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