Google Algorithm: What do People Really Think about the Holidays?

Everyone, especially students, uses Google; therefore everyone knows that when you type search terms in Google, it offers suggestions before you have even finished typing. This is also known as autocomplete, and it is based solely on an algorithm.

I am not going to even attempt to understand or explain this algorithm in depth, primarily because I can’t. But the fraction of what I do understand about it is that it is based on what other people are Googling; the searches are essentially based on popularity.

Most of the autocomplete phrases that the algorithm produces are predictable, like the ones offered when “frosty the” is typed into the search bar: “frosty the snowman,” “frosty the snowman lyrics,” “frosty the snowman song” and “frosty the snowman video.” However, there are some autocomplete suggestions that are far from predictable. Instead, they are everything from absurd to offensive, but they might just share the way we really feel.

A new trend brought about by our society’s dependence on technology and our growing desire for efficiency is to allow Google and other search engines to finish our thoughts. In Google’s defense, autocomplete is efficient. But it results in more and more people resting both their fingers and their brains, which could be detrimental to our society.

Since most agree that the autocomplete suggestions produced by the Google algorithm shed some light on the collective ideas and beliefs of our society, I thought it would be interesting to see what people really think about the holidays.

According to Google’s algorithm, the collective conscious believes that Christmas is about “family,” “giving,” “Jesus” and “giving not receiving.”

Freshman Yasul Uno agrees that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. He also said, “I think it is an accurate reflection of our views on Christmas because it is about all of these things.”

The collective conscious also thinks New Year’s resolutions are “a waste of time,” “meant to be broken” and “out of favour.”

“I think these suggestions are awfully negative, but it reflects how the United States feels about resolutions because we tend to be lazy and not keep our resolutions,” said sophomore Emily Holdren.

Google’s algorithm reveals that people think that reindeer are “real,” “better than people,” “are they real” and “tapping.”

Substitute teacher Tom Brennan said, “I thought Rudolph would have been one of the top searches, but I can understand why people are confused about reindeer being real or not.”

Our society as a whole feels that gift giving is “stupid,” “an art” and “economically inefficient.”

“Gift giving is economically ineffiecient is the best – it is witty, funny and it rings true because gift giving is economically inefficient,” said se

Finally, the algorithm shows that people think Santa should “be arrested,” “lose weight,” “be green” and “walk.”

“I think these suggestions sound like a lot of myths associated with Christmas and Santa in particular. Also, the green suggestion is pretty unexpected,” said junior Megan McSpadden.

Although these were the top results, it does not mean that everyone feels this way about said topics.

Junior Bailey Roberts said, “I think that the autocomplete phrases reveal how other people feel about the holidays, but not necessarily how I feel. The phrases are kind of like boundaries set up by society, telling us how we should act and feel.”

As a society, we should be mindful of this when typing our deepest darkest secrets into the Google search bar; it could end up altering someone’s opinion for the worse or setting up more societal boundaries.