Google Search and Culture

15 Oct 2009

I usually never pay attention to the auto complete suggestions offered by Google, until now, when I found they can be quite amusing. What’s even more fun though, is repeating a search across different country specific sites, to get a idea of what the people of that nation are most worried about. Here’s a sampling, let’s start with India:

"How To" in India

#1 certainly explains India’s growing population. We’re also quite obsessive about learning proper English (Outsour Singh is desperately looking to land that call center job) and hacking Orkut accounts. Now, for the Netherlands:

"How To" in the Netherlands

I guess the one take-away from this is that the English speaking Dutch population (which is quite large, mind you) are mostly looking for more info on some romantic comedy from Hollywood. I was also curious about the results for the USA:

"How To" in the US

Hmm, why are there so many Americans wanting to learn to “tie a tie”? “How to solve a Rubix cube” is about the only intellectual entry to appear on the suggestion list among all three countries, until you realize that it’s actually spelled “Rubik’s”. I wouldn’t be surprised if “Rubix” makes the dictionary soon.

The common theme for all countries seems to be: learning to kiss. Indians are confused between “losing weight” and “reducing weight”, which also explains why everyone wants to get better at English. Some Indians also want to gain weight, a term which is most definitely absent from American searches. Our Dutch friends have no interest in either, I completely understand why; they maintain a very healthy lifestyle by cycling all over the place. The Americans have apparently mastered the art of downloading videos from Youtube, while the Indians and Dutch are still learning the ropes. American women first want to learn to get pregnant and then quickly want to get rid of the resulting stretch marks, while Indian ladies don’t bother with the latter.

The geeks out there will notice the UI improvements on the US version of Google over the other two. I think I’ll stop drawing inferences now.

Try your own fun searches to see what auto-suggest has in store! Suggested starting point: “How to use”…