Brian Moreau

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The A to Z of Search (Google Instant)

Google InstantHave you noticed that when you start typing a word into Google a drop down list appears with suggested words beginning with the first letter?

This is a feature I believe currently exclusive to Google and is called Google Instant.

How dose Google know what I am about to type?
The words suggested are not a guess at what you are about to type but based on what is the most popular word searched for at that moment in time, beginning with the same letters you type.

Changing Trends
The results thus constantly change because we go through stages of searching for different things. The results are also dependant on your location. Yes Google knows where you are, have you not realised that yet?

Top Trends
Every time you search for something the words you type are saved into a database.
The number of times a word is searched for is also recorded.
The words are what Google call Trends. The more popular the word the higher its Trend rank. The top four words are what are suggested to you along with the most popular website.

Here are the results of my alphabet search.

A is for Argos, Amazon, Asda and Asos
B is for BBC, BBC News, BBC Weather and BBC iPlayer
C is for Currys, Comet, CBBC and Cineworld
D is for Debenhams, Daily Mail, DVLA and Dorothy Perkins
E is for eBay, Easyjet, Expedia and East Enders
F is for Facebook, Facebook login, FRIV and Flybe
G is for Game,  Google Maps, Gmail and Gumtree
H is for Hotmail, HSBC, HMV and Homebase
I is for ITV, Ikea, ITV Player and iPlayer
J is for John Lewis, Jobcentre, JD and JJB
K is for KLM, Kwik Fit, Kiss and KFC
L is for Lottery, Lotto, Lloyds TSB and Littlewoods
M is for Met Office, MSN, Maps and Miniclip
N is for Next, New Look, National Rail     and NHS
O is for O2, Orange, Odeon and Oasis
P is for Play, PC World, Paypal and Primark
Q is for Quidco, QVC, Quiz and Quop
R is for River Island, Right Move, Royal Mail and Ryanair
S is for Sky, Sainsburys, Sports Direct and Skype
T is for Tesco, TFL, Topshop and Twitter
U is now UCAS, UK Top 40, Urban Dictionary and Urban
V is for Virgin, VUE, Vodafone and Very!
W is for Weather, Wikipedia, Wikileaks and weather Forecast
X is for X Factor, Xbox, XE and Xbox Live
Y is for YouTube, Yahoo, Yahoo Mail and Yell
Z is for Zara, Zoopia, Zavvi and Zumba

About the results
From this data it looks like high street department stores are king of search and it appears to be the women doing the shopping online.
We then like to update our Facebook “Status” or see what our “friends” are doing, check our bank balance, play the lottery and search for a job.
Most of us will then buy a new mobile phone and book or dream about a holiday!
For those whose bank accounts have been scammed we will watch TV or play a game.

If you want to check out the current top 10 Google Trends see
The Google Trends tool can be used to discover how popular a given word is.


Readers comments >

Date:  31-01-2011 18:03:32
From:  Julie
Location: Kent
Wow this is very interesting. You can use this feature to get marketing data, check out competitors or just see whatís hot. I tried this with numbers too and the number 34 turned up a surprising result. Your right their does appear to be more women surfing.

Date:  31-01-2011 20:04:17
From:  Gary
That's very interesting Brian - nice read. I think you'll find that is AJAX at work there, my search on my log started out like that - type a letter and a list appears underneath, I modified it to update a table.


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The A to Z of Search (Google Instant) : January 2011
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