An interesting way of investigating a topic can come from simply following the suggestions Google makes as you begin typing your query. You just start typing a word or phrase relevant to your topic of interest and suggestions will show up for related queries thanks to Google’s Query Suggestions. Fortunately, there are some better ways of doing this than just sitting on Google’s search page typing in different strings and these other sites can help you see trends in the results.
What do you suggest?
One such example is WhatDoYouSuggest.net. It allows you to start your query and then visualize the further suggestions. You can also click the buttons below for examples with a random word, random letter, or question. In the center of the screen your original query will appear and branch off to the top suggestions. If you click any of the suggestions, it will branch out further if it can and it may keep going. Finally, when you click on one of the last words it will show you the top 4 results for the query you built.
- The words that appear first in each set of options are the words Google thinks are most likely to be what people are looking for.
- The words joined by the thickest lines are ones which will produce the most results if you searched for them on Google.
Another example of a Google Search suggestions visualization tool comes from the site Web Seer. It provides a little different functionality that can allow for some very interesting observations. Web Seer works by taking two different queries that you put in and then it lists the Google Search Suggestions. The list is color-coded with arrows pointing to the entries from your submitted queries. Again, the thicker lines indicate more results if you were to perform that search on Google.
Where Web Seer shines is how it easily indicates which suggestions overlap for the two queries. As you can see in the screenshot below, whether you’re trying to say ‘you like’ or ‘you love’ something, in both cases many people are looking for quotes of how it’s been said before.
Autocomplete Me comes from the same network as Lolcats and FAIL Blog and they regularly post user-submitted screenshots of silly and humorous suggestions found in the Google Autosuggestions. Check it out or subscribe to their RSS feed for daily laughs.
Google’s suggestion feature somewhat paints a picture of the Internet culture. Unfortunately that picture can be quite a scary one at times, but other times it can correct misspellings, save you some typing, or lead you to find exactly what you were looking for.