Are you guys familiar with Google Instant Search? Of course you are. This is like asking if you use the Internet, which you do, or else you wouldn’t be reading this. When you do a Google search you’ll see Google Instant Search in action when it displays a list of suggested searches that change as you type. Like so many things, I doubt the creators of Google Instant Search anticipated all the ways it would be used. Instant searches can be funny and disturbing, mostly because they’re so unpredictable. It’s like you’re playing a round of Family Feud with the rest of the internet, and the Internet is WEIRD. The results have also been used to write surprisingly good found poetry or reveal a disturbing amount of sexism in popular searches. The alogrithm behind the results uses a combination of popularity, relevance and freshness to generate results.
So, what happens when you Google my name? Um, this happens:
That’s right, the second suggested search is “jennette fulda boyfriend.” Say, whaaaa? Be honest now, have any of you been asking Google about my love life? And why? I’m not sure what to think of this. Are you trying to score a date? Did you read my books and want to know if I found the man of my dreams afterwards? It’s all slightly disturbing. I’m also surprised it ranked higher than “jennette fulda twitter” or “jennette fulda half-assed” which seem like reasonable searches. I even understand why people would be interested in “jennette fulda weight gain” though I obviously wish that weren’t the top search. Why isn’t “jennette fulda is a delightful person” in there? Can this system be gamed like it is with Google bombing?
I am now curious what Google Instant Search conjures up for other people’s names. Does anyone have any funny or horrifying stories to share? If you’re really into self punishment you can prompt more specific searches by adding a single letter after your name and running through the entire alphabet. For example, “jennette fulda h” prompts “jennette fulda half-assed,” “jennette fulda headaches,” and “jennette fulda half of me.”
So lay it on me. What is the Google Gossip saying about you or someone you know?