Long time readers may remember how we used to track Google Suggest results. Google Suggest is that drop-down box that appears as you start typing a search query in Google. For some time, the results were seemingly organized by volume. When someone typed the letter “O”, for example, the name Obama appeared at the top of the list. If the next letter was not a “B”, the result changed to something else.
Then Google seemingly commercialized the results while also localizing them to a country. Someone in the United States has different searching habits based on culture and dialect than a UK searcher. Google announced today that search suggestions are localized to the city level. And it’s working. Here in the Redskins-obsessed DC suburbs, typing the name Jim brings up the name of former coach Jim Zorn. Likewise, typing “Mike” brings up current coach Mike Shanahan and former radio personality Mike O’Meara. Search suggest isn’t just for first names, of course. Typing “Sm” causes a local suggestion here of Smithsonian and “Du” brings up Dulles Airport, Dulles Town Center and Dulles Expo Center before worrying about that basketball school in North Carolina called Duke. (Just kidding, Blue Devils. Love you much. Thanks for helping me win two brackets.)
Between s0cial search personalizing the results page and search suggest now creating local suggestions, Google continues its quest to anticipate the most relevant search possible based on decreasing amounts of input. The goal, whether it is for speed as Google claims or something else entirely, is laudable.