Here’s the deal. For those of you who don’t know what autocomplete is (i.e. my mom), essentially, it’s when a computer program tries to predict what you are planning to type. It began as a time-saving device that would finish the date, an email address, or other common words and phrases for you and has become, thanks to shared screenshots of Google searches, sometimes bizarre and amusing. The hard working algorithms over at Google access overall popularity of searches and begin guessing at what you want to search for after your first letter (for example, just type in “how does google au” and “tocomplete work” will come up and explain itself to you).
Usually, the autocomplete process is pretty straight forward and sensible. Occasionally, it is completely absurd. Often, it is enlightening, as it gives some insight into what the world has been searching for.
For example, people turn to the internet now, more than ever, for advice. They want to know, for instance, what is and isn’t safe. And here’s how Google completed my search on this topic…
Of course, if you need to ask if you should be kickboxing while pregnant you’re probably the type of person who kayaks with alligators and your days may be numbered regardless.
Similarly, people are always curious to know if they’re normal or not, so I started a search on this topic and Google was helpful enough to suggest…
The answer, by the way, is no. It’s not normal. (Unless, of course, we’re talking about 31 – those curves – wow, what a striking figure)
Now that we see how useful Google’s autocomplete is, what could I possibly have against this marvel of modern technology? Here’s the problem. I’m actively engaged in a Google-off with Patton Oswalt (if you haven’t read that blog entry, check it out here, or just scroll down, how lazy are you? And, yes, I am aware of the irony – every time I mention my competition with Oswalt, he gets another Google hit from my referencing him….it’s the Catch-22 cost of doing business).
Needless to say, Oswalt is off to a big lead and I need all the help I can get. If you type in “Patt” in Google, Oswalt is second only to Patti Smith in Google’s autocomplete suggestions.
And here’s what happens when you try my name…
Makyura the Destroyer? Give me a break. You know what this is? It’s a Yugioh card. And not even a good one. I checked a couple of on-line forums and it is apparently rare, but fairly useless. And it’s standing in my way. How are people going to find me? How will I defeat Oswalt? How are people still playing with Yugioh cards?
So, how am I going to do it? How will I destroy Makyura the Destructor and take my rightful place at the top of the search list? I must continue to write. Continue to increase my online presence. Continue to fight the good fight. And one day I shall emerge victorious.
Until then, I’ll be looking forward to the day I can look admiringly into the googly double o eyes of America’s favorite website and whisper, “You (auto)complete me.”