Wednesday | 15 August, 2012

Prejudices and Impressions? | Google Reveals All

An American researcher came up with an ingenious idea for capturing Americans' impressions of each other –simply check auto-complete in Google. The beauty of this research is that people typically don't feel directly observed while Googling, and thus are likely to ask the questions that otherwise they may not be willing to voice. And auto-complete illustrates that lots of people have been asking this question. In other words, we can expect that it is representative of Google searches – not what everybody thinks, but what searchers are looking for. For a detailed illustration of how that looks on an American map, and a description of the research, go here.
How does this look for the Caucasus? Azerbaijanis, to start out, with simply aren't on the map of people asking very specific questions about them. The main question that comes up relates to Eurovision.

The same is true about Georgians. They don't quite make it, or rather are thrown in with those Georgians
living around Atlanta.

As for Armenians, the searchers do not seem to be positively inclined. Yep, that's not too attractive, but this is what is out there.

The Russians get a mixed review. Why are the man so big, the women so pretty, and the people so crazy?

A great example of original research into stereotyping, and I wonder whether it would work for Google in Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian. While it is not a survey of people, it is a survey of searches, and thus tells us people's curiosity. If you find some of that as unsettling as I did, there is a search for you: