Google: Search engine and soothsayer

By Laurie Bennett

April 18, 2012 at 1:27pm

One day, I started to search Google for “a bug that smells like…”

And Google just knew the next word would be “grass.”

Which got me to wondering. If Google knows that a user in an obscure ZIP code with a population of 1,325 people wants to know about bugs that smell like grass, surely it knows the name of the next president of the United States.

I don’t pretend to grasp search algorithms or the enormity of global databases.

But I’m pretty sure Google knows more about me than my brothers do.

As it boasts on its blog: “We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships.”

At what point does all this accumulated knowledge about human behavior move from a responsive role to a predictive one? No one - not Gallup, not InTrade, not Goldman Sachs - is better positioned.

Once you starting think this way, you can’t help but look for signs.

When Google hired former Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari in February to run its Washington office, I figured they knew something.

Chief legal officer David Drummond, who gave only to Democrats in the last presidential election, has started giving to Republicans as well. I doubt he would part with the cash before checking with corporate research.

Google will also be the “official social platform and livestream provider” at the Republican convention in Tampa.

On the other hand, Google VP Marissa Mayer is an Obama bundler this year. Is Googleplex hedging its bets or simply trying to confuse the general public?

The company publishes a Politics and Elections Blog, which provides some reporting on search trends and YouTube video views.

But it’s superficial stuff, loaded with USA Today-style graphics signifying nothing.

I’m reminded of the decision by national networks to delay broadcasting results until the polls have closed.

Google knows more than it’s saying. It’s just letting us go through the motions.

Still need more proof? I just typed in three words: “Can Google predict…”

And Google of course finished my query with two more: “the future.”

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  • #1.   Linda L Hill 04.22.2012

    According to Conspiracy Theroists, our Presidents are already chosen for us by the Boss. I believe that Obama is out because he has with or without his own knowledge has given exposure to the, Who’s in Charge. Thank God for Obama.

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