Google Instant Search must be crack for sociologists. Now, I’m no sociologist (though I suspect VCs would be a good study in group-think) but I generally like to know what my neighbors are up to, their likes and dislikes. And as it turns out, one of the benefits of Google’s recently released Instant Search is that it gives you a window into what’s on their mind (based on the most popular queries in your area).
Apparently all of my neighbors are closet rappers.
Take the following query: type in “i l” and Google’s updated predictive algorithms prepopulate the query to “i love the way you lie” and instantly surfaces rapper Eminem’s lyrics to the aforementioned song and video. You would think two characters into a query, there would still be an infinite array of possibilities: sonnets with those three special little words, Valentine’s Day proclamations, etc. You would, of course, be wrong.
Or say you’re looking for the number to the voice based information service that Microsoft bought. What was their name again? TellMe Networks? Be careful, throw in an extra space and “tell me ” instantly whisks you to the lyrics for ghetto fabulous Bay Area rapper E40’s “Tell Me When to Go” (whose van I sighted several months back at a Berkeley gas station).
What’s that, you want to learn a new skill? Try “teach m” and Cali Swag District will teach you how to Dougie. Seeking parenting advice? “Parents j” will confirm its hopeless because Parents Just Don’t Understand. Entrepreneurs — you want to be billionaires (and on the cover of Forbes magazine)? “I wa” may help.
Even benign query strings like “in we” lead to Will Smith’s lyric “In West Philadelphia born and raised.” Futile attempts at punctuation like “hyph” lead me straight to Wikipedia entries about the Hyphy movement. Most any query construction that fits the grammar ‘I ’ + a letter of the English alphabet is on the verge of transporting me to a key refrain in someone’s anthem (apparently musicians are self-centered people). Everywhere I go I’m surrounded by Tupac’s battle cries (“hit e”) or Cyndi Lauper’s cheesy songs from the 80s (“girls j”).
Which is just another way of saying that Google’s most recent effort to engineer our collective experience from the long tail back towards the fat head is reinforcing our shared humanity. And apparently what’s holding mankind together are SEO gods Eminem and Rihanna.
I’m just glad they turned off expletive search.