Sunday, December 12, 2004


Google Suggest

As mentioned in the previous post, Google is now offering a beta service called Google Suggest which provides suggested completions of your search term as you are still typing it in.

This is implemented as a small dynamic request sent to the Google server as each character is typed (using XMLHttpRequest), which returns a compact block of javascript which describes the suggestions for the current partial search term. The request is of the form

where the qu attribute is the current partial term.

Predictably, people have started to work out how to use this request form for other uses - after all its effectively just a web service, that given a (partial) word returns a list of associated words and phrases - where these results may include completions of the word, phrases that are specializations of the word, and indeed mispellings of the word.

Such uses include:
For the record (as no doubt the list will change over time), the suggestions after just one character has been given are as follows:

A - Amazon
B - Best Buy
D - Dictionary
E - Ebay
F - Firefox
G - Games
H - Hotmail
I - Ikea
J - Jokes
K - Kazaa
L - Lyrics
M - Mapquest
N - News
O - Online dictionary
P - Paris Hilton
Q - Quotes
R - Recipes
S - Spybot
T - Tara Reid
V - Verizon
W - Weather
X - Xbox
Y - Yahoo
Z - Zip Codes

0 - 02
1 - 1
2 - 2004 Election
3 - 3m
4 - 411
5 - 50 cent
6 - 60 minutes
7 - 7th heaven
8 -
9 - 911

. - .com
£ - £
_ - _
¬ - ¬

The symbols are a strange set of results - its very interesting to see that this service thinks there are over 2 billion results for £, even though actually entering that as your search term gives you a blank set of results.

As Scoble notes, the results of this service are at least partially censored (or "safe search enabled" if you want to put it another way), though like much censorship, its not completely successful.

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