Peter Coy and Dorothy Gambrell at BusinessWeek write:
As an experiment, we typed the names of the 50 states into Google (GOOG) to see what people most frequently ask about them. The questions range from dumb (well, mostly dumb) to revealing, both about the states and about the people doing the searching. Lots of questions about carrying a gun, buying alcohol, getting divorced, and fighting union organizers. Whether a state is in the Midwest or South seems to be a particular obsession. But the most common question about the states is even more basic: Is it a state?
To try it yourself, use Google’s autocomplete function. Type “Is Alabama” into the search bar, pause, and you’re given four possible questions based on what others have asked before.
As Google says:
Autocomplete predictions are algorithmically determined based on a number of factors (including popularity of search terms) without any human intervention. Just like the web, the search queries presented may include silly or strange or surprising terms and phrases. While we always strive to reflect the diversity of content on the web (some good, some objectionable), we also apply a narrow set of removal policies for things like pornography, violence, hate speech, and terms that are frequently used to find content that infringes copyrights.
The results are astounding.
Here are the first three:
Is Alabama racist?
Is Alabama playing today? [The university is better known than the state.]
Is Alabama a good school?
Is Alabama a community property state?
Is Alaska a state?
Is Alaska an island? [No.]
Is Alaska a good place to live?
Is Alaska connected to Canada? [Yes.]
Is Arizona bad for you?
Is Arizona iced tea gluten free?
Is Arizona a good place to live?
Is Arizona iced tea healthy?
Their results are here: Business Week.
More stories about oddities.
Photo credit: Screenshot from Google
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