Google knows a lot about you. It knows where you live, what you email your friends about, and what you really want when you start typing into their search box. In fact, chronicling the ways Google autocompletes your searches can be both enlightening and horrifying. But the words the search engine predicts you’ll want aren’t the same in every country.
Computer scientists who don’t work at Google find this quite interesting, so two of them build a little application that can show you what you might see in that little search bar in various countries. According to New Scientist:
The system is called Zeitgeist Borders. It lets anyone collect and analyse autocompletion suggestions from around the world for a certain phrase, pushing searches through all of the different top-level domains that Google runs, such as google.fr in France. The results are displayed on a world map, with the most popular words to complete a search term displayed for each country – though it works in English only.
The project was open to the public but had to close down, because Google has a limit to how many queries you can make of its data per day. But the researchers did publish a paper on the project and their code.
In their paper, they note some interesting trends. If you type “how to” in the Southern part of the world Google suggests “how to kiss.” If you…