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Google’s autocomplete function provides suggestions derived from common Google searches by other users. Comparing autocomplete results for searches on different countries reveals how certain places are perceived by people around the World.
It turns out that Google searches for the cost of something vary widely depending on the country of interest. For example, people are most interested in the cost of a passport or a patent in North America. As for Europe, many are concerned about practical things like the cost of living, studying, or buying a beer. Google users are interested in basic necessities such as food, livestock, and fuel in Africa. But if you look closely, you will find some more controversial search results, such as prostitution in Brazil, Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Latvia; slaves in Mauritania; a kidney in Iran; in vitro fertilization in Australia; and rhinoplasty in Korea.
Intrigued by the results of our U.S. state-by-state analysis of Google autocomplete results, we decided to see what the worldwide results look like. We began by googling a simple question for each country:
The results were then recorded and put into an infographic to see how countries and continents compare. Here are the results by continent:
Life in North America appears relatively boring. So boring that Canadians are chiefly interested in the cost of a passport for leaving the country. Better to go to Mexico where everyone has great abs.
Panama hats are popular in Ecuador. Prostitution is of interest in Brazil and Uruguay. And in Chile, the price of coke is of prime importance … we’re not sure which kind.
Some quirky search results for Europe include Rolexes in Switzerland, mooring a yacht in Monaco, nose jobs in Albania, and flying a MiG (a Russian fighter aircraft) in Russia.
For Asia there is a wide range of results, reflecting the diversity of cultures within the continent. The biggest financial concern for people searching about Lebanon appears to be the cost of a PS3; for Kuwait it is Lamborghinis, carpets for Armenia, and watermelons for Japan.
Google users are mostly concerned about the necessities of life in Africa. But apparently in the case of Sierra Leone people are more concerned about buying diamonds, and for Mauritania they are more concerned about purchasing slaves.
Apparently New Zealanders are a frisky lot, with great interest in vasectomies, while their Australian neighbors are concerned about the cost of in vitro fertilization. Quite the paradox.
The most common search about costs in Antarctica is for the cost of land. While the land there may not be terribly hospitable, there sure is a lot of it.
Looking at some of the most popular Google searches throughout the World reveals some cultural differences, but also many key similarities. It also provides insights into the sometimes-strange things people think about when they are alone.