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Google Suggest 655

Posted by michael
from the freedom-to-innovate dept.
Cristiano writes "As you type into the search box, Google Suggest guesses what you're typing and offers suggestions in real time. This is similar to Google's 'Did you mean?' feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, except that it works in real time." It crashes Konqueror, but works nicely on Mozilla. Update: 12/11 by J : The engineer who thought of it, then built it in his "20% time," blogs about the process.
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Google Suggest

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  • /. Spelling (Score:3, Funny)

    by Zorilla (791636) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:22PM (#11052726)
    > loose

    Google
    ------
    Did you mean: lose?


    Yeah, Slashdot needs this badly.
    • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:25PM (#11052760)
      When I type "loose" it doesn't suggest "lose".

      It does suggest "loose women".
      • by RobertB-DC (622190) * on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:30PM (#11052829) Homepage Journal
        When I type "loose" it doesn't suggest "lose".

        It does suggest "loose women".


        It also suggests "loose weight". I can't believe how many web sites there are devoted to loosing weight. I guess that's the origin of the term, "to throw your weight around" -- so many people loosing it, and throwing weight will certainly loose it. What a bunch of loosers.

        (and looking at that paragraph long enough makes me wonder if I've loosed it, myself)
      • Re:/. Spelling (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tatarize (682683)
        I was going for "Pretty" but after I got "pret" in there it started suggesting preteen girls and such.

        I'd hate to see it if it wasn't striking down entries. For example "sex" comes up with total blanks. No "sex addition" or anything, so its obviously removing stuff but apparently not flawlessly.

        Reminds me a great google game. Turn strict search filtering on on google images and try and find porn using single word. My record is 2nd image with "cameltoe".
    • Going by stereotypes... I suspect some people may be searching for other people with "loose morals" :). I am sure, many would be on "lose weight" stuff too. What would Google suggest?

      S
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:23PM (#11052733) Homepage Journal
    but with a HUGE database/archive of possible candidates at it's disposal.

    Wonder how it'll hold up when it gets out Beta though...it's bound to be pretty computationally intensive.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I wonder how long before spammers use this maliciously to create word lists to direct traffic.
    • by mdf356 (774923) <mdf356.gmail@com> on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:33PM (#11052859) Homepage
      It's surviving a slashdotting. What more do you want?

      Cheers,
      Matt
    • by dustinbarbour (721795) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:34PM (#11052877) Homepage
      Yes, it would be intensive for their server should everyone decide to use it in place of standrd Google search. However, the algorithm behind their "Did you mean" runs in O(n^2) worst case and O(n) best case. Not too shabby.. The algorithm is what makes it possible.
        • by eln (21727) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:49PM (#11053078) Homepage
          big-O notation

          (definition)

          Definition: A theoretical measure of the execution of an algorithm, usually the time or memory needed, given the problem size n, which is usually the number of items. Informally, saying some equation f(n) = O(g(n)) means it is less than some constant multiple of g(n). The notation is read, "f of n is big oh of g of n".

          Strangely enough, I got this definition from a Google search.
          • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:55PM (#11053140)
            Nice, but not answering his question. He didn't ask what O(n) was, he asked what n is, and that's a legitimate question. What *is* n? What is the determining factor of problem size for this algorithm? The number of characters the user has typed? The size of the database of terms Google will search? What?

            Chris Mattern
      • What is n? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MasterVidBoi (267096)
        I'll try this myself: What does n represent in this case? The number of pages in google's database, the number of words or phrases in their database? The length of the search string?

        I would really like to know where you came across this. Can point us to a discription of the algorithm?
    • by ciroknight (601098) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:35PM (#11052895)
      This is why Google is such an awesome concept.

      Instant access to any piece of human knowledge, and it now can guess what you are looking for right as you can type. The only next improvement I can think of is if it did related searches to the term you searched for, but I'm not sure how you would represent all of that data at once. Leave it to the Google geniuses ;)
    • by gavint (785035) on Friday December 10, 2004 @01:01PM (#11053230) Homepage

      Looks nice, but what happens when you type "the"?

      "the incredibles"

      Is anyone else seeing the advertising possibilities?

  • Try this: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by elid (672471) <eli.ipod@gmail . c om> on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:24PM (#11052749)
    Type in g. Then type o. Then type o again. And again. Keep typing o's... Look what happens :-)
  • Great.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by BossMC (696762)
    [ Niagra Falls ]
    [Google Search] [I'm Feeling Lucky]

    Did you mean viagra?
    • Re:Great.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by APDent (81994)
      Except, if you actually watch the drop-down list as you're typing, once you've typed "nia", it's already suggesting "niagara falls" with the correct spelling and 3,090,000 results. True, "niagra falls" (incorrectly spelled) is also in the list, but since it only has 129,000 results, it's probably clear which one you're actually looking for if you're not trying to make a joke about Viagra.

      This is pretty amazing, really.
  • Crashes Konqeuror? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Shaman (1148) <shaman@@@kos...net> on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:25PM (#11052756) Homepage
    Not mine. Worked like a charm. Version 3.3.2 on Gentoo Linux 64bit
    • by Espectr0 (577637)
      Also, safari works fine
    • Not like this? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by oliverthered (187439)
      Konq 3.3.2.
      Try using it for a while and you'll get.

      Using host libthread_db library "/lib/libthread_db.so.1".
      [KCrash handler]
      #7 0x409cfe74 in av_ () from /usr/kde/3.3/lib/libkdecore.so.4
      #8 0x41b6df56 in KJS::XMLHttpRequest::abort ()
      from /usr/kde/3.3/lib/libkhtml.so.4
      #9 0x41b6f333 in KJS::XMLHttpRequestProtoFunc::tryCall ()
      from /usr/kde/3.3/lib/libkhtml.so.4
      #10 0x41aeef77 in KJS::DOMFunction::call () from /usr/kde/3.3/lib/libkhtml.so.4
      #11 0x41c7332b in KJS::Object::call () from /usr/kde/3.3/lib/li
  • by Moth7 (699815) <mike...brownbill@@@gmail...com> on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:25PM (#11052757) Journal
    That when you enter "P", the first suggestion is "Paris Hilton"? I guess this just proves that porn really does drive every new technology ;-)
    • What's sad is that Google is probably basing the temporary results off of rank or the number of times that string has been queried. So is it possible that "Paris Hilton" is the most often searched term that starts with a 'P'? I think so. It's a rather sad commentary on the state of human affairs, if yuo ask me.
    • by IdleTime (561841) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:43PM (#11052996) Journal
      No, it just means that you are a porn freak!

      Their suggestions is ofcourse based on earlier interests shown from your ip. So when you type capital P, google knows that you are not intereste in Paris, France but Paris Hilton and no, it's not a hotel!
    • Haha. What's also cool is 'f' gives 'Firefox' as the first suggestion, it must be making a big impact.
    • by kzinti (9651)
      There are some other interesting first-suggestions in the alphabet: h suggests "hotmail", and x suggests "x-box" (not, as I was expecting, a porn term). d suggests "dictionary", and o suggests "online dictionary". Most surprising: f suggests "firefox", where the top hit is mozilla.org.
  • I know many systems that are still in use that won't be able to handle this. I also hate any drop down box that has more than 5-6 options so for my tastes it is a little long.
  • by SunPin (596554) <slashspam&cyberista,com> on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:25PM (#11052762) Homepage
    I typed "tits" and it drew a blank.
  • Numerous times I am forced to look something up without know precisely how to spell it. This should make it easier to find what I'm looking for. Granted, I don't think their dictionary will contain the names of off-the-wall places like Mike's Crabshack, but they do seem to have a rather large dictionary.
  • ... and I get SEARS !? SEARS is not sexy. It is probably the extreme opposite.
    Google needs to open there eyes and know that some people (mostly male I assume) need extremely quick "relevant" results when they are out of passwords, and ... eh... need extremely "quick" results.
  • My view (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bogaboga (793279)
    I am very impressed. Very impressed indeed. But what can be done in case one's idea of a term is essentially mis-spelled?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:26PM (#11052784)
    I wonder how long it will take before companies are able to pay for their 'suggestions' to show up at the top of the list.
  • P...aris Hilton (Score:2, Redundant)

    by joshua42 (103889)
    p -> Paris Hilton

    Very useful, thank you.
  • Wow (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pHatidic (163975)
    That is amazingly fast. What language do you think that menu was programmed in?
    • by Moth7 (699815)
      Don't know about the backend, but the frontend [google.com] appears to be written in Javascript. Assuming that is the frontend - I didn't have time to check anything more than the fact that it's included by the completion page and not by regular google.
    • Re:Wow (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Freexe (717562)

      Its javascript, using the XMLHTTP object to communicate with the server directly

      You can see it http://www.google.com/ac.js cant say i understand it, Gmail using the same thing but way more advanced.

  • And, if you type in "speed o", fourth or so on the list is the ever popular speed of light in furlongs per fortnight.

    How does this come up with results, though? Does it just base them on the popularity of the search, or does it base them on how many produce results that users click through to?
  • No good... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Omicron32 (646469)
    Hmmm....

    p -> paris hilton
    po -> poems
    por -> porsche

    I'd say it's pretty obvious what I intend to search for. This thing is utterly useless. (Although, in it's favour, I must say the Paris Hilton first link was pretty good.) :)
  • Notes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by parmadil (811515)
    * It works on KHTML-based Safari, so it the crash must be a Konq-specific problem.

    * It ignores, um, non-work-safe input.

    * It works fine on moderately esoteric topics -- I started typing n-s-a-r and it found NSArray, NSArrayController, NSArchiver, etc.
  • How is it so FAST!? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by topham (32406) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:29PM (#11052813) Homepage

    It is blazingly fast. I expected it to be slowwwww.
    Can somebody outline how it works?
    • by mbyte (65875)
      hmm, i think it loads the search results in the background. When i type in some text and look at my squid logs i see several of the following queries:

      http://www.google.com/complete/search?

      So, basicly they use some javascript to handle on keypress event, send the data to google and back, and display them .. but i'm also amazed how fast it is ! (one point can be that the search pages result about 500-1000 bytes ..)

    • by loconet (415875) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:49PM (#11053084) Homepage
      Everytime you type a letter, it requests a special modified version of the search tool which only returns the necessary javascript data.

      check itout [google.com]

      Impressive
    • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:59PM (#11053211) Journal
      Type livesearch into the box and hit I'm feeling lucky. You'll then find the details of what I'm positive inspired this. Essentially, as you type it passes data via an XMLHttpRequest control to the server which then returns a list of the top 10 elements and the page gets updated.
    • by JavaRob (28971) on Friday December 10, 2004 @01:02PM (#11053245) Homepage Journal
      The source for the page is quite simple; most of the work happens in a condensed JavaScript library [google.com]. Not easy reading (note the word "condensed" above, meaning function and variable names are 1 or 2 chars, and all extra whitespace was removed...), but it's actually pretty straightforward.

      It disables your browser's autocomplete on that textfield (for obvious reasons). Then it basically just defines a hidden div for that auto-complete dropdown (variations on this depending on browser... frickin' incompatibilities).

      Each time you type a character, it populates that div body with the results of a quick, tiny query back to Google. It's NOT running the search for you; it's hitting (I assume) a simple, probably totally in-memory list of the most popular searches and number of results. That's how it can be so quick a response -- the lookup on their end is super-minimal, and the data to be transferred is probably less than 1k each time.

      Cool. Nice concept, nice execution. And one of those nice "only obvious in hindsight" additions.

      Even cooler -- it looks like (from the js file) they are supporting multiple languages here, not just English. Anyone using want to test this out for me? I think even Chinese is supported (or maybe that's the one that isn't.. I don't want to take the time to parse this properly).
  • google whacks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by manganese4 (726568) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:29PM (#11052815)
    Well it definitely makes it easier to look for google whacks
  • Sorry if this is offtopic or considered flamebait, but...

    Why does everything Google does get on the front page of Slashdot?

    Don't get me wrong, I love Google, and this is a neat feature, but this makes it to the front page?

    Perhaps because it's innovative? No, this has been in various software products for years (especially notable on PDAs like the iPaq). Maybe it's really novel because it's on the web? Yes, it's on the Internet now so Google should patent it!

    Sorry, but I just get this feeling
  • I was just needing a way to solve all of my problems at once.

    • Dear Google,

      I forgive you for that newsgroups date search thing.
      And the newsgroups deep linking thing.
      And the joining the Wall Street Suits thing.

      I know my opinion has been on your mind, so just know we're square. Keep up the good work.

      Sincerely,

      RP
  • Privacy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frisky070802 (591229) * on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:32PM (#11052851) Journal
    I'm surprised no one has commented on privacy yet. It looks to me like it uses past queries to suggest future ones, because as soon as I zoomed in on an unusual name, it offered a couple of bizarre queries that could only have been typos (one was a two-word query, so it wasn't simply every word indexed -- unless they know every pair of words that quickly?).

    I don't mind Google knowing what I ask, but I'm not sure I want the world to see them.

    • I not sure how you think "the world" will see your searches. But this is from Google's privacy policy [google.com].

      Cookies
      Upon your first visit to Google, a cookie is sent to your computer that uniquely identifies your browser. A "cookie" is a small file containing a string of characters that is sent to your computer when you visit a website. We use cookies to improve the quality of our service and to better understand how people interact with us. Google does this by storing user preferences in cookies and by tracking
    • Re:Privacy? (Score:3, Informative)

      by tyler_larson (558763)
      I'm surprised no one has commented on privacy yet.

      You wouldn't have been so surprised if you had done what the rest of use did and READ THE FAQ!

      http://labs.google.com/suggest/faq.html [google.com]

      You would have found it if you had clicked the "Learn More" link prominantly displayed on the page.

      Your own previous searches are not used at all in determining results. The results you see are exactly the same results everyone else will see. You're sending the same information to Google that you send in a normal sear

  • by Timesprout (579035) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:33PM (#11052863)
    "It looks like you are searching for lesbian porn, would you like some help with that?"

    "It looks like you are searching for lesbian porn again, do you remember what I showed you last time?"

    "I know, I know, Lesbian porn,and can you rate these pages so I can update my page index?"

    "Hello freak, try these"
  • by Hatta (162192) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:34PM (#11052873) Journal
    A is for Amazon
    B is for Best Buy
    C is for CNN
    D is for Dictionary
    E is for Ebay
    F is for Firefox (yay!)
    G is for Games
    H is for Hotmail
    I is for Ikea
    J is for Jokes
    K is for Kazaa
    L is for Lyrics
    M is for Mapquest
    N is for News
    O is for Online dictionary
    P is for Paris Hilton (wtf?!)
    Q is for Quotes
    R is for Recipes
    S is for Spybot
    T is for Tara Reid
    U is for Ups
    V is for Verizon
    W is for Weather
    X is for Xbox
    Y is for Yahoo
    Z is for Zip Codes
  • I wonder... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lizard_King (149713) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:34PM (#11052878) Journal
    ... how they prioritize the suggestions in the list. It's definitely not by the number of results per suggestion. Are there any revenue opportunities here for GOOG?
  • I figured I would look up mountain biking. However, in my quick typing I entered mountian instead and it continued and accepted that. It gave me many valid searches, which I probably wouldn't have found if I entered the search string properly. Of course, it did indicate that mountain was spelled incorrectly as normal.

    I figured this could be a useful feature as you probably don't make an effort to misspell your entries, yet many items on the web could have useful information with the misspelled word. S
  • Browser Wars (Score:2, Informative)

    by alva_edison (630431)
    Before more people complain that their browser doesn't work, here's [google.com][labs.google.com]what google specifies as the browser requirements.
  • I remember long back, one thread on slashdot where it was discussed how microsoft patented the idea of showing the options as the user types in. I am not sure though.
  • It looks very similar to the technology Google uses in Gmail. When you compose a new message, as soon as you start typing in email addresses in the To: field, Gmail presents a similar drop down box with matching suggestions from your contacts.
  • What the hell have the Google guys been eating? It was a plain ol' fashioned search engine for years, then in the space of 6 months they offer email, that desktop search thing, a server for people to buy, etc...

    I'll have what they're having.
  • The fact that a lot of people search for "s" makes me wonder if they have the same problem as me in Firefox. I can't remember what I do, but it ends up searching for "s", and I end up at MacDonalds or Hoovers.
  • by F34nor (321515) * on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:40PM (#11052949)
    What Google really needs is a for pay LexisNexis tab so you can find real information from real sources in real time. That and a tab that indexes full text medical and science journals. Those damn journals! I love em but I don't have hundreds of dollars a year for each Psych. journal I want to read and hate going to libraries if I just want to see what's shaking in the world of science. With full text periodicals and full test journal search Google would become a singularity of information.
  • I have a list of queries, which I repeat every day or week or so. FireFox has now gathered them in its own form autocomplete. Now google interferes that with queries, I don't want to submit.
  • All joking about Paris Hilton aside, once you've typed in most of your search word(s) it does offer some interesting alternatives for more tightly defining a search, or searching for your subject on peoples pages that can't spell.

    But they should probably not even start making alist till 4-5 characters are typed, before that it's just suggesting stupid things.

    Also, it uses JavaScript. I have never had to "trust" google to use it before and as time goes on I have less reason to truly trust them, I don't kno
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Friday December 10, 2004 @12:50PM (#11053086)
    This was mentioned in another story last night but I thought it was funny.

    If you go to the page [google.com] and type "George Bush is a" you get some interesting suggestions. ;)
  • by jdludlow (316515) on Friday December 10, 2004 @01:04PM (#11053267)

    http://www.google.com/ac.js [google.com]

    The Javascript is ripped to shreds as far as readability goes, but buried in there somewhere is the key to making your own app based on this. If you were so inclined to piggy-back on top of this technology. Not that I'd advocate such things.

    // Copyright 2004 and onwards Google Inc.

    var w="";var pa=false;var ta="";var da=false;var g="";var G="";var m="";var j=-1;var h=null;var Z=-1;var za=null;var Ca=5;var q="";var Lb="div";var Bb="span";var la=null;var a=null;var b=null;var Xa=null;var mb=null;var X=null;var ha=null;var ra=false;var kc=null;var hc=null;var Ua=new Object();var ca=1;var Aa=1;var Y=false;var na=-1;var Va=(new Date()).getTime();var Q=false;var k=null;var sa=null;var E=null;var B=null;var aa=null;var Ba=false;var Ka=false;var p=60;var ia=null;var ya=null;var W=0;InstallAC=function(frm,fld,sb,pn,rl,hd,sm,ufn) {la=frm;a=fld;Xa=sb;if(!pn)pn="search";ia=pn;var Kb="en|";var Jb="zh-CN|zh-TW|ja|ko|vi|";if(!rl||Kb.indexOf(rl+" |")==-1)rl="en";ha=nb(rl);if(Jb.indexOf(ha+"|")==- 1){X=true;Y=false;Ba=false}else{X=false;if(ha.inde xOf("zh")==0)Y=false;else Y=true;Ba=true}if(!hd)hd=false;ya=hd;if(!sm)sm="qu ery";w=sm;mb=ufn;ac()}
    ;function Yb(){ra=true;a.blur();setTimeout("sfi();",10);retu rn}
    function Fb(){if(document.createEventObject){var y=document.createEventObject();y.ctrlKey=true;y.ke yCode=70;document.fireEvent("onkeydown",y)}}
    func tion nc(vb){var y=document.createEventObject();y.ctrlKey=true;y.ke yCode=vb;document.fireEvent("onkeydown",y)}
    funct ion gc(event){}
    function ic(event){}
    function Pb(event){if(!event&&window.event)event=window.eve nt;if(event)na=event.keyCode;if(event&&event.keyCo de==8){if(X&&(a.createTextRange&&(event.srcElement ==a&&(bb(a)==0&&lb(a)==0)))){cc(a);event.cancelBub ble=true;event.returnValue=false;return false}}}
    function mc(){}
    function Db(){if(w=="url"){Ha()}ba()}
    function ba(){if(b){b.style.left=ob(a)+"px";b.style.top=Qb( a)+a.offsetHeight-1+"px";b.style.width=Ja()+"px"}}
    function Ja(){if(navigator&&navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase ().indexOf("msie")==-1){return a.offsetWidth-ca*2}else{return a.offsetWidth}}
    function ac(){if(jb()){Q=true}else{Q=false}if(pa)E="complet e";else E="/complete/"+ia;sa=E+"?hl="+ha;if(!Q){qa("qu","" ,0,E,null,null)}la.onsubmit=Fa;a.autocomplete="off ";a.onblur=Ob;if(a.createTextRange)a.onkeyup=new Function("return okuh(event); ");else a.onkeyup=okuh;a.onsubmit=Fa;g=a.value;ta=g;b=docu ment.createElement("DIV");b.id="completeDiv";ca=1; Aa=1;b.style.borderRight="black "+ca+"px solid";b.style.borderLeft="black "+ca+"px solid";b.style.borderTop="black "+Aa+"px solid";b.style.borderBottom="black "+Aa+"px solid";b.style.zIndex="1";b.style.paddingRight="0" ;b.style.paddingLeft="0";b.style.paddingTop="0";b. style.paddingBottom="0";ba();b.style.visibility="h idden";b.style.position="absolute";b.style.backgro undColor="white";document.body.appendChild(b);Ma(" ",new Array(),new Array());Gb(b);var s=document.createElement("DIV");s.style.visibility ="hidden";s.style.position="absolute";s.style.left ="-10000";s.style.top="-10000";s.style.width="0";s .style.height="0";var M=document.createElement("IFRAME");M.completeDiv=b ;M.name="completionFrame";M.id="complet

  • by slcdb (317433) on Friday December 10, 2004 @01:40PM (#11053705) Homepage
    I got a real kick out of some of the suggestions.

    my cat: ... hates you ... breath smells like cat food ... hates me ... is an alien

    my girlfried:
    (No suggestions, obviously Google is run by a pack of lonely nerds).

    my boyfriend: ... is gay ... sucks ... cheated on me ... hates me ... dumped me
    (Okay, make that an apparently gay pack of lonely nerds).

    darth vader is: ... gay
    (A delusional pack of gay nerds?)

    Oh, the fun I'll have with this new toy when I'm bored at work.
  • by ARRRLovin (807926) on Friday December 10, 2004 @03:04PM (#11054705)
    ...Google suggestion is renamed to "Skynet" by the company that acquired Google, Cyberdyne systems. Skynet is said to be fully operational. Soon it will become "aware".

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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