viernes, 7 de octubre de 2011


Google’s autocomplete algorithm is the best friend of the inquisitive Web surfer.

Thanks to this powerful search tool, anyone can enter a simple, incomplete query like “Why does” and stumble upon the most popular questions asked by other curious souls. You’re missing out if you have yet to see how Google autocompletes “Why does”, “Why did” and the like.

Similarly, the algorithm can also provide an inside look at cultural stereotypes. Type in “Why do [INSERT NATIONALITY HERE]” and watch as Google instantly unveils the most-asked questions about the cultural group of reference.

Theresa Dold subjected 14 different groups to the test: Americans, the French, the British, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Dutch, Russians, native Americans, Mexicans, Italians, Greeks, Africans, Germans and Canadians, to which I have added Spaniards.

The results range from “objectively” hilarious to undoubtedly offensive and in no way represent personal views.

Self-study activity:
Get together with an English-speaking friend or relative and discuss what the most common stereotypes of the nationality groups mentioned above are, and to what extent people from those nationalities you have actually met conform to those stereotypes.

Then go over the screenshots Theresa has collected through Google’s autocomplete algorithm and discuss the stereotypes there.