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Smartphones are evil: 11 weird Google Suggest results, and what they tell us about tech in 2014

Smartphones are evil. Macs are crap. Apple is dying. Everything you need to know about tech, from Google Suggest.

Smartphones are

Google Suggest is a feature that sees the search engine trying to complete a search query as you type words into the search engine's text box. Suggestions are meant to be helpful - but they can sometimes be funny, bizarre, or downright creepy. More than that, they give an insight into the sorts of things that people search for, and the sort of content those searches return. And in turn that tells us interesting things about the subjects of our searches.

We made a variety of search requests, and noted down what Google suggested every time. Smartphones are evil. Macs are crap. Apple is dying. Everything you need to know about tech, from Google Suggest. Here are 11 weird Google Suggest results, and what they tell us about tech in 2014. (See also: The 5 best places to wear Google Glass, the 5 worst places to wear Google Glass - and one on which we can't decide.)

Smartphones are...

(This shot is above.) Smartphones are evil apparently. Evil? The other searches make a weird - if somewhat angry - sense. A waste of money? I don't agree but I can see the point. For idiots? Colour me idiotic. But evil? Are we really as a species suggesting that a portable computational device is the work of the devil?

Perhaps, though, our searchy ways are revealing a deeper truth. Perhaps the use of a handheld device gets in the way of true interaction, leading to the break down of family life. And the presence of a smartphone may make people feel tethered to work in a way that is truly evil.

Or perhaps there are a lot of cranks on the internet. Yes, that's it.

Tablets are...

Tablets are

The future, or useless. The internet truly is a binary medium, with nuance in short supply. And so it seems with our 'tablets are...' search. Most Suggest results are anti-tablet, one stunningly positive. They're all wrong of course. Tablets are a useful and fun additional device. But that isn't nearly as punchy a search term.

Google is...

Google is

I know the argument: because we never have to learn or remember knowledge, we are getting less capable of learning or remembering knowledge. And because we never have to learn or remember knowledge, we are getting less capable of learning or remembering knowledge. Also, as we never have to learn or remember knowledge, we are getting less capable of learning or remembering knowledge.

I know, I missed my calling as a comedian.

Of course it is not Google that is making us stupid, it is all connected technology. And it is not making us stupid, but causing us to lose skills that were previously important. This is a legitimate cause for concern, although it is something that has happened throughout history, as technology made our lives easier. We do need to use or lose mental skills, but you can't argue with the benefits of the ability to sift through data quickly.

(As a bonus aside: 'Google is...' returns results for Google Isreal, conspiracy fans.)

Apple is...

Apple is

Apple is dying. Yes. A billion Dollars a quarter and poor old Apple is on its uppers. As missives from planet bonkers go, this is a doozy.

Apple is not dying. But the popularity of the search term shows that (a) a proportion of web searchers will that it was so and (b) plenty of commenters are happy to write exactly that. Apple is a very successful organisation that is coming to terms with its move from innovative outsider to true tech giant. And it is doing so with a good amount of cash in the bank.

Still, isn't it sweet that even in a world as obsessed with tech as is ours, the top result for 'Apple is' is still of the fruity persuasion?

Macs are...

Macs are

Macs are crap according to Google search's suggestions. And that is palpably not true. But an examination of the other answers shows that this is not entirely a fair fight.

Macs are also for idiots, apparently. Which seems harsh. Non gamers, sure. People with specs, non-ironic beards and non-denim slacks, absolutely. But anyone who can afford a Mac is surely more than just an idiot. A rich idiot at worst, right?

There is hope for humanity, however. Another of the suggested answers is 'Macs are PCs'. It's like, hey, Macs are also PCs guys. Let's sit down and lace daisies into each others' hair. Peace.

PCs are...

PCs are

I knew that couldn't last long. PCs are better than Macs apparently. But then, PCs are also dying. This is so confusing. Look, can't we just all be friends? The desktop PC is in decline, although I wouldn't expect it to die out completely. Meanwhile the PC vs Mac debate continues to rage, interesting only those people who care about two different kinds of very similar consumer product.

Facebook is...

Facebook is

And now we come to some Suggest answers that reveal a lot about tech and user behaviour. First up is Facebook. A search for 'Facebook is...' reveals the number one suggestion as 'Facebook is down'. Oh Facebook. You are both required and loved, but also flakey. And when people can't access you the first thing they do is head to Google to find out why. This is interesting because...

Twitter is...

Twitter is

Twitter is (also) down, apparently. Same same, match match. Both Twitter and Facebook require immense server power and supremely good coding just to stay up. But the first suggestion on any search for either is 'down'. We demand that our services are only ever up.

It's also interesting to note that where Google suggests Twitter is also 'a waste of time', Facebook is merely 'bad'. I can't decide which is better. Probably the former - many of my favourite things are a total waste of time.

Windows is...

Windows is

The top result here is a damning indictment of piracy and Microsoft's doomed attempts to tackle it. 'Windows is not genuine'. If you're seeing notifications that the copy of Windows that is installed on your PC might not be genuine, it's because Microsoft thinks that you are a pirate, or that you bought counterfeit software from a pirate. Either way your copy of Windows is not in Microsoft's view properly activated or genuine. You can fix this. But often the fix requires you to buy a Windows licence. And that is not a nice search term to be the top suggestion about your product.

And Windows is loading files loop? No-one is saying 'Windows is awesome', and that's sad.

Android is...

Android is

People are a bit more positive about Android. Excessively so. 'Android is upgrading'? In your dreams it is. We all know that the wheres and whyfores of which Android devices get the upgrade and when are as mysterious as why the writers of Coronation Street continue to employee Ken Barlow. But I guess that hope springs eternal. The Android fanboys are a positive lot, as another of their top search suggestions is 'Android is better than iOS'. Similar to, yes. As good as: I'll buy that. Better? Not so sure. (See also: 5 most exciting new features in Android L: why Android Lollipop will be a gamechanger for Google.)

Which brings us to our final Google Search Suggest result...

iOS is...

iOS is keyboard view

'iOS is keyboard view'.

Eh? (See also: 5 Android features you're about to get on your iPhone: the iOS 8 features Apple stole from Android.)


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