Can Google Autocomplete Tell Me ….

As the psychologist Meg Barker suggests in her new book, Rewriting the Rules, looking at the most common words which Google uses to complete the phrase “how can I get my boyfriend/girlfriend to … ” can be a fun way of examining pervasive ideas about gender and relationships:

It also offers an interesting perspective on the US elections:

However it gets downright weird when applied to UK politics. Or at least when applied to leader of the opposite Ed Miliband. Addicted to Wigwams? Made of Magnets? Perhaps we shouldn’t take this too seriously. Either the autocomplete algorith can be gamed or there are some extremely strange politically themed web memes out there. Google are, perhaps unsurprisingly, rather vague about the specific factors determining autocompletion results.

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