Welcome Fleshbot readers! You’ll want to jump down to here for the dirty stuff.
Like manna from Heaven, Google continues to bestow useful gifts on the masses. As Slashdot, Fast Company (calling it ‘predictive Web searching’) and everybody else has noted, Google has a new search service called Google Suggest:
As you type into the search box, Google Suggest guesses what you’re typing and offers suggestions in real time. This is similar to Google’s “Did you mean?” feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, except that it works in real time. For example, if you type “bass,” Google Suggest might offer a list of refinements that include “bass fishing” or “bass guitar.” Similarly, if you type in only part of a word, like “progr,” Google Suggest might offer you refinements like “programming,” “programming languages,” “progesterone,” or “progressive.”
Very interesting. I’m going to have to play around with it to see if it’s actually useful. Not to toot my own horn, but (like many Internet power users) my Google kung fu is pretty strong. Still, this might help. I just looked for a typical search in my browser history. Now, when I start to search for “the Christmas song dave matthews lyrics”, I can get as far as “the Christmas song dave” and choose from the available options.
Not a vast improvement, especially given that I
sue use the Firefox address bar for most of my searches, but a nifty innovation nonetheless.
UPDATE: Here’s a list of what Google Suggest, uh, suggests for each letter of the alphabet. A is for Amazon, B is for Best Buy, etc. Distressingly, P is for Paris Hilton.
Google appears to have pulled an MSN Spaces and excised a lot of ‘questionable data’ from this product. For example, it won’t suggest ‘porn’, nor will it suggest any of the likely combinations of the term ‘teen’. Here are some other words it refuses to predict on (a whole lot of dirty words ahead):
masturbate (though masturbese is in)
asshole (though assholic and asstastic are in)
humping (though hump is in)
lesbian (though dyke is in)
Those are out, but the following are in:
crap (not to mention crappy website)
gay self suck (but gay sex is out)
how to give a blow job (and sundry other provocative gifts)
That was fun. Obviously, you can search for any term–Google just won’t predict the first list for you. In a typically American approach to censorship, there are not restrictions on racist or violent terminology. ‘KKK’, ‘snuff’, ‘torture’ and ‘bum fights’ are all in (as they should be). But we can’t be predicting filthy terms like ‘oral exam’ or ‘sex education’, can we?
I checked the Advanced settings for Google Suggest, and my SafeSearch was turned off (set to ‘no filtering’). Either it’s a bug, and Google Suggest isn’t reading this setting, or Google Suggest won’t suggest these terms, regardless of my SafeSearch setting.