Search Engine Automatic Completion Reflects Social Inquiries


The New York Times reported details about Google and Bing’s automatic completion tools for their search engines that show “precise questions that are most frequently asked, giving everyone a chance to peer virtually over one another’s shoulders at private curiosities.” Google call its feature “autocomplete” and Bing calls its feature “autosuggest.” The New York Times went on to report:

People who study online behavior also say the autocomplete feature reveals broader patterns, including indications that the questions people ask of search engines often veer into the sensitive and politically incorrect.

Actually automatic completion services exist in part since search engine users want speedy but like the guidance. Google and Microsoft have spent billions of dollars to return faster search based in part on a Google experiment about search engine speed a few years ago which found:

...that people reported more happiness with search even when the results were delivered a few milliseconds faster, at a rate below what the conscious mind can actually perceive.

However if search engine results from Google and Microsoft also reflect popular and frequent inquiries it sure seems that a thoughtful business or crook could game the search engines to drive traffic to their sites.

The publications contained in this site do not constitute legal advice. Legal advice can only be given with knowledge of the client's specific facts. By putting these publications on our website we do not intend to create a lawyer-client relationship with the user. Materials may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. This information should in no way be taken as an indication of future results.

Search Tips:

You may use the wildcard symbol (*) as a root expander.  A search for "anti*" will find not only "anti", but also "anti-trust", "antique", etc.

Entering two terms together in a search field will behave as though an "OR" is being used.  For example, entering "Antique Motorcars" as a Client Name search will find results with either word in the Client Name.


AND and OR may be used in a search.  Note: they must be capitalized, e.g., "Project AND Finance." 

The + and - sign operators may be used.  The + sign indicates that the term immediately following is required, while the - sign indicates to omit results that contain that term. E.g., "+real -estate" says results must have "real" but not "estate".

To perform an exact phrase search, surround your search phrase with quotation marks.  For example, "Project Finance".

Searches are not case sensitive.

back to top