A is for Amazon: Google’s autocomplete alphabet


When I was a tot, I learned my ABCs with pictures and words printed on sliced-up trees. I also watched “Sesame Street.” These days, many kids are learning to spell with tablet computers. What will Google teach them?

Rolled out two years ago this week, Google Instant shows suggested queries as you type. It was billed as a time saver, shaving two to five seconds off each search.

Google figured that Instant would improve searches because it takes people 300 milliseconds between each keystroke, but only 30 milliseconds to glace at suggested results. Before Instant, it took people more than nine seconds on average to enter a term, according to the search engine.

Some love the feature, some hate it. Some claim their reputation has suffered because of it and have sought redress in court.

But one of the most intriguing things about Google Instant is how it presents a list of queries when a single letter is typed. This autocomplete alphabet, as it’s known, changes frequently according to the most popular searches. Here’s the latest snapshot of the alphabet, in halves:

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