Text Recognition

20 March, 2010 at 6:34 pm (webjunk)

The website Autocomplete Me trades on the humor generated by Google’s recent innovation of showing what other popular searches have been that began with the same keywords or letters. Said humor is mostly randomness, and a variation on the old hilarity where people would type in things like “I think [your name here] is” and then see what random internet people thought of other people with the same first name. Thrilling!

Well, perhaps not thrilling, but trifling, and trifling is what the post-MTV generation, digital natives apparently want: thirteen seconds of distraction and a link to something else. Breadth without depth.

Which is why it surprised me that so many of the screen-capped searches on Autocomplete Me are pop culture references that someone has failed to recognize and thought were gleeful randomness. Aha and haha, someone thought, it is so totally weird that anyone would ever search for that, let alone for enough people to persuade Our Google Overlords to allow an algorithm to display it as a suggested search! And then — click, click, click — it’s on display on a website that’s part of the I Can Haz Cheezburger network. Yes, I also would have thought that people as meme-aware as the LOLcats folks would catch some of these references, but apparently not.

So, for no real edification, I present a short list of Autocomplete phrases and their respective sources that I recognized. Which may well say more about my own pop culture obsessions than the limits of the site in question. Still, it should at least provide a quizzical raised eyebrow at how lack of context creates a false appearance of surreality.

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