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'There is nowhere we are more honest than the search box'

The quote above comes from Ben Casnocha, and it's attached to a blog post looking at the differences between "smart" search phrasings and "dumb" ones. For instance: the most popular searches beginning with "how 2 ..." are "how 2 get pregnant" and "how 2 grow weed." Searches beginning with "how might one" tend to be about music or, weirdly, Andrew Jackson.

More titillatingly, people asking "is it wrong to" tend to have something sexually indecent in mind. The top results are "sleep with your cousin," "sleep with your stepdad after your mom has died," and "like your cousin." Searches beginning with "is it unethical to" tend to be about white-collar crime and animal rights.

(Via Tyler Cowen.)

By Ezra Klein  |  November 11, 2009; 12:23 PM ET
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I'd guess a lot of the "smart" search phrasings are driven by common high school and college essay topics.

Posted by: SimonCox | November 11, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

AOL Search was good for this too:

Posted by: wareq | November 11, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

In the Google search box, when you type in "do gay men . . . ," the suggestions are:

sleep with women
have more estrogen
have less testosterone
use tampons
find women attractive
fall in love with women
turn straight
wear boxers
want to be women

I'm gay, so I can't help wondering... do straight people really think think this stuff?

Posted by: blah1 | November 11, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

No wonder people are terrified of gay marriage. I mean, imagine 2 men, wearing boxers, using tampons, and yearning to be ladies! Shocking! It's enought to destroy the entire institution!

Posted by: drjimcooper | November 11, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm more amazed that people search in complete sentences. I guess keyword search strategies have not been communicated very effectively.

Posted by: punditpending | November 11, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm with punditpending. I've never typed any question -- or any complete sentence -- into a search engine.

Posted by: dpurp | November 11, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why you are referencing Ben's post here. He is basically just regurgitating Slate's article from last Monday.

Posted by: ashimm | November 12, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

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