Since December of 2006 I have had a fascination with the workings of Google, and while we have put no small effort into divorcing our films’ fate and our family’s fortune from the vagaries of Google’s algorithms, how those algorithms parse culture, especially the aspects of culture that human being have difficulty parsing, remains of more than passing interest.
In June of 2010 I saw a video on James Fallows’ blog (Internet: Friend of Dictators or Dissenters) that suddenly helped me make sense of things I had been thinking about for a while, and I wrote him a longish note he was kind of enough to publish:
I hope you would notice that [comstock films] and [tony comstock] do not autofill. Compare that to typing in [stormfront], which Google provides additional help in finding through autofill.
If a search string is in Google’s autofill database, it engages a whole series of Google helper features: it ensures the name is spelled correctly, suggests potentially relevant variations, and in its own subtle way adds Google’s imprimatur to the search. Of course it’s a small nudge one way or another, but these sorts of nudges add up. [continue reading here]
Well to everything turn turn turn.
[Tony Comstock] still does not autofill, nor does it deliver Google Instant search results. But if you happen to type [Tony Comstock ], that’s Tony Comstock with a space after it, The Googlebot has some helpful suggestions: