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For most of us, Google is the first stop when we have a question. An unexpected consequence of this is that a lot of people have developed a weirdly honest, personal relationship with the search engine. People spend years pouring their hearts into empty search bars.

You can catch glimpses of these relationships, occasionally, via Google’s autocomplete feature, which tries to guess the rest of your search based on other popular queries. The results are a more unfiltered look 12 Interesting Google Suggest Results & What They Reveal 12 Interesting Google Suggest Results & What They Reveal Google Search is the modern world's confessional. Whatever it is that we need help with, we just type it into the patient white search box and hope for relevant results. Google even helps us complete... Read More at humanity than we usually get to see – a strange mix of funny and tragic. I spent a few hours today picking out some of the most interesting examples I could find.

These are the questions we ask when we think nobody is listening.

Theology

When people are forced to confront big questions about the universe, they used to go and meditate in a cave for thirty years. These days, apparently, they punch it into Google. You could argue that something has been lost, but the modern process is definitely more efficient.

Users really want to know what’s up with this God guy. Is he real? Is he an alien? Does he love me? Does he hate other people? Didn’t that guy die? These questions are touching because of their frankness. These are regular, busy people who don’t have time to go read St. Augustine and Richard Dawkins. They just need to know what happens after you die, so they can pencil it into their schedule.

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does godis god

Relationships

Relationships are tough. Even happy relationships have their rocky moments – and when those moments come, people turn to Google for help. The result is a weird but enlightening breakdown of the common problems people have in their relationships – and how they vary between the genders.

Let’s start with the basics:

why doesn't she why doesn't he

Nothing too shocking here: lots of people with unreciprocated affection. It’s an old story, adjusted only slightly by the invention of SMS. But let’s go a little bit further into the relationship and see what people have to say.

why does my husband

Why does my wife - Edited

You can’t help but feel like these searches all come from one couple, who need to sit down and have a serious conversation. These are not questions that most people would feel comfortable asking almost anyone in their life, but there are no reservations about asking Google. It’s almost a shame that Google doesn’t run a relationships counseling business on the side.

Ethics

Another situation people turn to Google in is when they’re faced with a moral dilemma.

is it alright to

is it moral to Is it ethical to

The differences between these results is telling. ‘Alright’ has to do with practical questions. ‘Moral’ brings up classic moral dilemmas that date back to antiquity. ‘Ethical’ is clearly only hastily searched by grad students with one hand in a vat of brains. This is a good break-down of near-mode vs. far-mode reasoning – ‘alright’ deals with near mode topics, and ‘moral’ and ‘ethical’ brings up far-mode topics.

This is all well and good, but then we get to ‘is it wrong to,’ and it all gets a little weird.

Is it wrong to

As far as ‘is it wrong’ goes… what? It’s a mix of confused gay teenagers and people who are getting up to some much weirder stuff. Technically none of it is necessarily morally wrong under utilitarian ethics, but… what?

Prejudice

Okay, everyone hold onto your britches. This is going to get a little real.

One of the other things that tends to show up in auto-suggest is racism and prejudice. Let’s get into it.

Why Do White People - EditedWhy do black people

Why do Asians Why do jews Why do MExicans

Obviously, some of these questions shouldn’t be asked in polite company. However, I do think there are some points worth making here. For starters, I don’t think these searches are particularly malicious, and that’s important. When we talk about prejudice, the conversation tends to focus on hate groups like the KKK – people who actively despise anyone different, and try to hurt such people. It’s easy to believe that all prejudice is like this, and that can lead to the illusion of a deeply hostile world.

These search results remind us that prejudice is often simply ignorance. People googling this stuff aren’t doing it to make a point or hurt anyone, they’re doing it because they’re curious. Curious people haven’t made up their minds yet – not completely, anyway, and that’s an indication that there’s still hope.

Whew! Okay. That was rough. Here, watch this corgi getting its belly vacuumed.

Humanity Asking Questions

These Google results are a reflection of humanity – or, at least, the Google-using parts of it. Like fresh snow, machine learning algorithms develop grooves along well-worn paths. While you can’t necessarily track a specific person, you can see the routes that everyone walks – a shadow of peoples’ lives.

This reflection reveals a lot of imperfections, but I don’t think it’s damning. If aliens were to judge our worth solely on the basis of our Google auto-complete results, I don’t think they’d gas the planet.

These results reveal human beings with human flaws and virtues. They cheat and lie and ignore their partners, and are suspicious people who are different than them – but they’re also curious about big questions: right and wrong, and the origin of the universe.

There’s certainly room for improvement, but there are far worse things you could see, looking into such a big mirror.

What’s the strangest autocomplete result you’ve ever seen? Did we miss something sad? Funny? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Amber MacGregor
    May 27, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I just have to say that I tend to disagree with most of this article! I didn't see anything that indicated prejudice or racist. You can't tell what the motivation was behind a person asking certain questions. I personally have searched things just out of curiosity, an idea from books or movies, a conversation I am having with a friend, etc. I don't think anyone is smart enough to look at these questions that have been searched and know for a fact that the person inquiring is racist, immoral, creepy or anything else! If anything I think it is interesting to see what different people are inquiring about, but I don't judge any of them. I just might go look up some of those questions myself to see the different results that come up!

    • Jon
      January 21, 2016 at 5:53 am

      Porn googling, equates to immorality, I believe we can all agree on that one.

  2. Mike Land
    May 26, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    You know, for the last couple of years I used to hit up 3 sites everyday. But since this author has decided to use race as a way to grab peoples attention, and it actually got published, that has become 2 sites. Congratulations. Im personally sick of media fueling the fire. As a responsible TECH writer maybe you should focus more on.......oh hell........how about TECH ???? ; and let good well written interesting articles be your goal. By the way, I think youd probably fit right in over at Jezebel. May wanna submit something to them too.

  3. Howard A Pearce
    May 25, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    And I also suspect many people ask these questions for fun and curiosity just to see what the search engine returns

  4. Phid ippides
    May 25, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Asking questions like "why do X people have thin lips" or "why do X people have thick lips" isn't "prejudicial", and thinking that to be the case fuels the kind of scorched-earth political correctness that has causes much social damage to our world. Asking those kinds of questions is a natural part of understanding and de-mystifying the world. Prejudice happens when we treat others negatively based upon shared characteristics.

    • Amber MacGregor
      May 27, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      Well said!! And I totally agree, I was thinking of how many times I searched something on Google just out of curiosity!

  5. Cayen S
    May 25, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    the first result under "is it wrong to_____" 'is it wrong to pick up a girl in a dungeon' is the name of a fantasy comedy anime series that is debuting this year. Although not knowing that information would leave you wondering why the heck that would be popular.

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