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So what was that all about?

In case you're wondering what I was asking you to do earlier in the week with the "ground" thing...

So you might have heard about this little disagreement going on in New York about a proposed community center/mosque on the site of a former Burlington Coat Factory.  Setting aside the politics of the whole thing, I saw this blurb about how typing "ground" into Google resulted in an automatic completion of "ground zero mosque" before any other phrase, including just plain "ground zero".  Then someone pointed out that it seems to depend on where you are, and I thought, aha!  I know people from all over the world who could do this little experiment for me so that when I talk in class later this semester about how Google is not the neutral, taken-for-granted search engine that we all assume it is, this would be a great illustration that the results you get depend in part on where you are:



Obviously, it also depends on what you have recently searched for, and the phrase "ground zero" can mean a lot of things beside the site of the former World Trade Center in NYC.  Keeping that in mind, here's the results, sorted roughly by distance from Manhattan.

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2

3

4

5

Location

ground zero

grounds for sculpture

ground zero mosque

ground beef recipes

groundhog

Bronx

ground zero

grounds for sculpture

ground zero mosque

ground beef recipes

groundhog

New Jersey

groundhog

ground beef recipes

ground zero mosque

ground zero

ground turkey recipes

Cincinnati

ground beef recipes

groundhog

grounded for life

ground zero mosque

ground zero

Indiana

ground beef recipes

ground turkey recipes

ground zero mosque

ground zero

grounded for life

Chicago

groundhog

ground beef recipes

ground zero mosque

ground zero

grounded for life

Chicago

ground beef recipes

ground zero omaha

ground zero mosque

groundhog

ground zero

Omaha

ground beef recipes

groundhog

ground zero

ground turkey recipes

groundhog day

Ontario

ground beef recipes

groundhog

ground zero

ground turkey recipes

groundhog day

Alberta

groundwork

ground zero

groundhog day

grounded theory

ground elder

Scotland

ground zero

ground zero 2010

groundhog day

ground zero festival

grounded theory

Utrecht

ground force

ground zero

ground bound

ground link

ground control

Portugal

ground beef recipes

ground zero

ground turkey recipes

ground zero mosque

groundhog

Norway

ground zero

grounded for life

grounded theory

groundhog day

ground zero audio

Oslo

ground beef recipes

ground zero

ground zero mosque

ground turkey recipes

groundhog day

Baden-Württemberg

ground effect

groundhog day

ground zero

ground parrot

grounded theory

Queensland

ground zero mosque protest

ground zero

ground zero mosque

ground zero ship

grooveshark

Sydney

ground beef recipes

ground zero

ground turkey recipes

ground zero mosque

ground control

Sydney


Don't know that there are any grand conclusions to draw here, but it is interesting.  Thanks for your help!

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
aleo_70
Aug. 29th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
Interesting. Clever experiment.

I had heard, somewhere, that Google weighted its search responses to your locality and possibly to previous searches (although I can't recall having ever searched for 'ground' or any of the above listed derivatives).

What happens with the same search parameter in different search engines other than Google? Although I guess now that would be rather moot as the argument over the mosque is perhaps not as current as it was when you started this.
zubeneschamali
Sep. 2nd, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
There obviously isn't enough data to make it a rigorous study, but it's just...interesting. I'm also fascinated by the wide variety of locations that people are coming from.
mangacat201
Aug. 29th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
*cocks head*

why that is very odd indeed... I'm especially intrigued by the grooveshark.
What i find very baffling indeed though is the fact that no matter where, all of these are composites... whatever happened to the ground we walk on?? Too simple?
Cat
zubeneschamali
Sep. 2nd, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC)
Hmm, good point! I'm guessing that Google's auto-fill feature is looking ahead and assuming that you're searching for more than one word at a time. *shrug*
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )