Google's Autocomplete function remains a steady source of chuckles, disappointments, and unintentional insights.
Case in point:
While by no means always a source of goodwill, Google Autocomplete also reminds us of what we—the royal Googling "we"— wish to know about the world around us. Take, for instance, our curiosities about the 2012 presidential candidates.
The same principle when applied to each American state yields a mosaic of obvious caricature and unexpected intrigue. This weekend, Amazing Maps released a recent map of the top Google Autocomplete query for each American state.
The formulation was: "Why is [state] so..." The results were...dazzling.
For example, we always knew that people were obsessed with the hulking expansiveness of Texas, but who knew that Alaska, which is even bigger, is characterized (at least in Google search mode) by its expensiveness?
And sure, we may have had our suspicions that people were curious about the supposed awfulness of New Jersey, but how did Pennsylvania and Connecticut come be known as "haunted?"
There are some more reductive "truths:" Utah is so Mormon (who knew that was an adjective?), Washington State is liberal, Oklahoma is "Republican," Colorado is fit, Kansas is flat, and Florida is hot. Perhaps if people were more aware of New Jersey's population density, we might have gotten the Tom Friedman trifecta of flat, hot, and crowded.
Instead, the Googling masses will keep searching for a country that is ten percent cold, ten percent poor, four percent good, two percent strict, two percent boring, and two percent important. That's kind of beautiful.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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