I know what you’re thinking.
Really, I know.
I’m not psychic or anything, but, any time of the day or night, Google will happily spill the beans about exactly what’s on your mind. Specifically, all I have to do if I want to know what you people are thinking is pull out my MacBook and type a few words into Google’s search, and Google’s autocomplete feature, which doesn’t even require an actual search, will tell me everything.
Most people don’t give the autocomplete offerings a second thought but I realized that it can be the most informative tool on your computer. Every time I type anything into Google, autocomplete tries to guess what I’m going to say – and it does so based on what all of you, the collective citizens of Earth, are thinking.
And I have to say right off the bat that some of the things you are Googling – and therefore thinking – are extremely alarming to me.
For instance, recently, I was typing in, “What happens if” and I happened to stop in the middle of my typing, and I noticed the choices Google was picking for me based on what all of you have searched for. Here’s what it gave me:
What happens if you eat mold
What happens if you drink blood
What happens if you tell Siri 000
What happens if you eat silica gel
What happens if you drink bleach
What happens if you eat mold? If you drink blood? Isn’t that pretty disturbing that those are apparently the two most common things people want to know for “What happens if …” ?
If you’d asked me ahead of time, I’d have expected things like, “What happens if you mix oil and water?” or “What happens if you have Coke and Pop Rocks at the same time?” (Hint: Don’t do it because your stomach will explode and you will die instantly.)
But I forgot about whatever it was that I wanted to know and, instead, instantly my new question was why are people eating mold and washing it down with a glass of blood? I can only assume that means there are a lot more vampires with faulty refrigerators than I realized; but, regardless, I really didn’t want to go too far down that road of inquiry. (Nor do I, come to think of it, want to know why so many people are eating silica gel.)
Another very interesting choice that came up from that search was, “What happens if you tell Siri 000.”
Now, I looked at that and I thought: I have absolutely no idea what happens. So what does happen? I figured it was easy enough to find out; I pulled out my iPhone and said, “Siri, zero, ze –” and then I stopped.
Because who knows what could happen.
I searched online and the first thing I found was a tweet by someone who explained that, if you say “Zero, zero, zero” to Siri, the iPhone will show you any deleted text messages. I read that and I was going to try it on my phone but then I noticed all the comments below the tweet were from all these angry people who had read the tweet and tried it. They had written “&*%$ you” and “Go to %$#* and lots of things like that. Everyone was really mad at the guy who had tweeted that.
So then I pulled up a video of someone saying “Zero, zero, zero” into the phone and what happens is that it calls emergency services and then the police show up and arrest you for calling 911 without a reason and then they take you to jail.
Apparently, getting people to say “Zero, zero, zero” is a popular prank people try to pull because when you type in “What happens if,” Google thinks that’s what you are asking.
Next, I wondered what people think about their bosses so I typed in, “Is my boss …”
And here’s what I got …
Is my boss attracted to me
Is my boss a narcissist quiz
Is my boss bullying me
Is my boss a sociopath
Is my boss a bully
So, bosses, that’s what your employees think of you. They think either that you are hitting on them or that you are a quiz about narcissists. Or they think you are a bully or a sociopath. Notice that apparently no one ever types in “Is my boss a genius” or whatever.
Hmmm, I wondered more about the work place and what coworkers think of other coworkers. We can tell easily because we can see the most popular things they have Googled about that. So I just typed in “Is my coworker …” and here’s what I got:
Is my coworker attracted to me
Is my coworker flirting with me
Is my coworker interested in me
Is my coworker into me
Wow! Take a cold shower people.
So, basically, if you’re at work right now reading this, look closely around the room at your coworkers because – even though they may look like they’re thinking about work – apparently the only thing on their mind is you and if they are going to get lucky with you tonight if you know what I mean. (Or maybe, even if they are going to get lucky with you on the conference room table later this afternoon once everyone else leaves the boring meeting and you two “accidently” lock the door and have a “private meeting” of your own.)
Google autocomplete can tell you plenty of other things as well. There’s no end to the fascinating discoveries you’ll make if you start typing things into Google. Like if you type in, “What does it mean when …”
The winner is “I have a dream about a snake.”
That’s the rest of the sentence that most people type in and that Google suggests. Of course, I have no idea why you would even have to Google that one because we all know very well exactly what dreams about snakes mean.
And what do you think is the first choice when you type in, “How to make …”
“Slime” is Google autocomplete’s guess.
Slime beats out “gravy” and “French toast.” Why? I’ve never made slime. And why would you make slime? I would think you would want to get rid of it rather than make it.
How about, “How can I watch …”
What would be a good film or TV show for Google to guess? The Godfather perhaps? Now there was a classic. Or maybe Gone with the Wind or Game of Thrones. I’d like to know how to watch that – maybe Netflix or Amazon Prime has it. But you know what movie was the first one Google came up with?
It was “How can I watch … Sharknado.”
What the hey?
OK, now stop there for a minute. I can tell you quite confidently that that is not the most searched-for thing to watch and that they are just drinking and having fun down at the Google Autocomplete Division lab.
There is no way in the world that is one of the most searched term guesses; Sharknado coming up is just those drunk nerds being funny.
In other cases, I know that the Google people aren’t trying to be funny, but I have no idea why the Google search is guessing what it’s guessing. It is just absolutely fascinating but it makes no sense whatsoever.
Like, what would you think you would get if you typed in “How far is …”
Well, here’s what you get:
How far is it to the moon
How far is it to Cherokee, NC
How far is it to Mars
How far is it to the sun
Which one of these doesn’t belong? If you don’t know, it’s the second one, Cherokee, North Carolina. What’s going on in Cherokee and why in the world would I want to go there? OK, I think they finally got table games at the casinos there, but is that really enough to elevate the town to celestial status and put it between the moon and Mars?
“What would happen if …”
What do you think for that one?
“What would happen if the sun went out?” is the number one pick. Why are you even Googling that, people? Do you not know what would happen if the sun went out? I didn’t read the answer but I feel quite confident the answer is that the Earth would go dark and cold and you would die as surely as if you’d had Pop Rocks and Coke together.
Google autocomplete also doesn’t take a hint. If you try to tell it “Stop finishing my …” It says:
Stop finishing my sentences
Stop finishing my sentences Google
And so on and so on.
Finally, sometime when you want to have fun, type in “Why is …”
There are a number of things you might think you would get, like: Why is the sky blue? Why is life unfair? Why is it that you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway? And there are lots of other good choices.
But what do apparently more people Google than anything else?
Why is my poop green?
OK, that’s more information than I needed to know, and, two, since I already have that image in my head, do you want me to tell you why your poop is green?
Uh, hello, it’s because of all that mold you’re eating and blood you’re drinking.