What I Hated the Least Today 159/365: Google

Dumb Google searches
Dumb Google searches

When I was cooking dinner, I recalled that I wanted to Google something. I moved five steps over to the laptop (the advantage of living in a bedsit) and—I realised I forgot what it was that I wanted to Google. So I promptly asked Google.

As I started to enter the query I wanted to Google something but I forgot what it was, Google’s search predictions showed that I’m not the only one. Not only did the autocomplete correctly fill in my request, also the actual search results proved perfectly relevant, as apparent from the screenshot below (click to enlarge, then hit Back to return to the post).

#firstworldproblems
#firstworldproblems

As an exercise in futility, I repeated the same search on Bing, typing I wanted to Bing something but forgot what it was. No autocomplete suggestions were available and no relevant results were available either. Ridiculously, Bing returned results of itself, and of a dictionary definition of wanted. Wanting is what Bing is.

#useless
#useless

I was also wondering whether and how using a different browser with different settings will affect my Google search. The first search was performed on Chrome, with the AdBlock extension on (obviously). I switched to Edge, went on Google and repeated the same search. There was a major difference in the first result—the very definition of my problem, Google amnesia, from Urban Dictionary.

#googleamnesia
#googleamnesia

I couldn’t find out how come that the Urban Dictionary result was missing when performing the same search on Chrome. I tried pausing AdBlock to see if it by any chance blocks the result, taking it for an ad, but no change. The same search run on Mozilla, with AdBlock Plus enabled, also included the Urban Dictionary result, though not on the first place. (Also, why, yes, I deliberately have three browsers installed.)

To conclude this rather inconclusive experiment on a funny note, the other day I forgot the term Stockholm syndrome. I needed it when I was considering whether my cat actually likes me or whether she has grown pathologically attached to her captor (of course, another option is my cat hates me). I Googled the closest I could come to it, Swedish complex, and guess what—Google (on Chrome) gave me Stockholm syndrome in answer. I was chuffed.

27 thoughts on “What I Hated the Least Today 159/365: Google

  1. It’s so much fun to type in random questions like that in Google! This post reminded me of that line, from a C&W song, I had the other day: “can’t remember what I came here to forget” 🙂 This happens to me, quite often, though … that one second later, I’ve forgotten what it was I was going to search for. Weird. I thought perhaps it was lack of focus.

    I have only two browsers installed nowadays. Chrome and Safari.

    The bank robbery that coined that phrase “Stockholm syndrome” … I’ll never forget that time! News media in Sweden had TWO major events going on simultaneously; the Norrmalmstorg bank AND the old King was dying (and died during this even). That was a bit rich for them, back then in 1973 …

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    1. Google is funny – I sometimes do that for fun, typing something like Why do academics… and waiting for autocomplete to come up with hilarious suggestions. What is mildly worrying is that a number of people had to type those searches in all seriousness.

      It’s hard to retain one’s focus on the internet. It’s an extremely distracting environment – and made to be distracting.

      I have three browsers mostly because I have multiple accounts on social media and elsewhere and it’s for me the easiest way to use all of them without having to log out and log in a different account all the time. Also, I use it for testing how a website I’m working on displays in different browsers.

      Of course you wouldn’t forget Stockholm syndrome when you experienced it this way – I have no idea how I could have forgotten, it must have been a momentary lapse in memory or what.

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      1. On the iPhone, there’s this voice thing called Siri. I asked her whether she liked albatrosses. She replied it was none of my businesses (but in a much more polite way) 🙂

        I’ve used Safari since I bought the first MacBook. Just the other day, I switched to Chrome for a while, and it’s nice and fast. I always check out any changes I’ve made, in both browsers.

        Yeah, that was a major news event for Swedish Radio/TV. Another major one, was perhaps one year later; the West German Embassy.

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        1. I never used Siri but I know of it/her – there are many jokes about Siri on the internet. She’s apparently just as hilarious as Google autocomplete.

          Chrome is the fastest, isn’t it? That’s pretty much the only reason I use it. Plus there’s a lot of extensions for Chrome. I have a bunch of them installed.

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          1. Yes, but it’s when I want to look at the CSS. I can’t use Safari then, because it’s so screwed up I don’t understand a thing. So, as soon as I wanted to do that, I had to fire up Chrome. Then I can just use it all the time, I thought. I have the AdBlock, Google Keep, and a few others installed.

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          2. I see exactly what you mean. The Inspect feature on Chrome allows to toggle between devices, desktop and mobile, which I find very useful. Inspecting on Mozilla looks entirely different. Not worse, but different.

            Besides AdBlock, I have on Chrome a VPN extension, a bunch of dictionaries/translators and, my favourite, LastPass for password management. I like my extensions 😉

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          3. OMG! (… there, I said it!) Great that you brought up LastPass. I’ve been thinking about that, and wanted to find someone who’d actually using it, to explain.

            I once tried and downloaded another one of those, but it was so confusing so I got frightened.

            How does it work? Let’s say that you’re away somewhere, you don’t have your phone with you. You get ahold of a computer, and you want to log in to your sites. Can you do that?

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          4. Ha 😉 I’m not the best person to advise you with LastPass – my use of it is very basic. I think it works so that you need to have it installed on the device where you want to use it. Here’s an article about password management apps, scroll down to read about the various options. Hope it helps 😉 Also, you sort of gently nudged me to look at my LastPass in more detail and actually learn to use it properly.

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          5. Now I’ve read the whole thing, and in the comments section, I finally got the answer to my question (what happens if I’m away, in an Internet café or whatever). Then it gets complicated. One suggested that you always keep your LastPass with you on a USB-stick. No way I’m going there.

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          6. A USB stick? That strikes me as neither convenient nor safe. I’d probably keep in on mobile, since I always have my phone on me, but then it’s not too safe either. So I simply don’t use it on the go…

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          7. No, I don’t think so, at least I didn’t change any old passwords I already had. You could, but you don’t have to. What you do need is to set a master password that will unlock LastPass.

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  2. Hahahaha love this Mara. And you are definitely not the only one. This happens to me all the time. I use Firefox on my Windows PC and Safari on everything else.

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    1. I’m comforted both by the fact that I’m not the only and that there’s a name for the condition – Google Amnesia. Things look less scary when they have a name attached to them 😉 Firefox is nice, my second favourite, coming second after Chrome because Chrome is the fastest for me. That’s probably what I most want from a browser.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My oldest son is currently playing some sort of game with his friends involving predicting what the most popular yet random autocomplete Google search term will be. I’m not sure I quite understand it (apparently I’m too old) but he is finding it hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

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