GWS Coffee Break: What Does Google Think of Great Writers?

As you may be aware, Google employs powerful algorithms to determine what they THINK you might be searching for.  The suggestions provided by Google Instant reflect the searches that other people have done.  Millions of people have searched for celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, so when you do a search for “Ashton Kutcher is,” you get the following:

googleashton

What does the aggregated wisdom reveal about some great writers?  Sometimes wondering what a writer IS leads to biographical details and a hint of detail about their work:

googletrethewey

googlezadiesmith
Sometimes, the deep question will result in superficiality and criticism.
googletomperrotta
A writer may be flattered by the implication of a search…
googletennesseewilliams
Isn’t it interesting that a Google search can result in literary analysis?
googlestephenking
Mr. King can dry his tears with his Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, though I’m not sure the award is very absorbent.
googlekimkardashian
Sometimes, people don’t even focus on a writer’s literary work; they just attack the writer herself.
googlejudyblume
Rumors of her death are greatly exaggerated.
googlejoycecaroloates
Geez, some band writes one song about you and your Google reputation suffers.

It’s a real song, apparently.  Picture a garage band from 1996 whose members were inspired by Silverchair mixed with a garage band from 1997 whose members were inspired by Everclear.

googleisaacasimov
I knew that Isaac was a very special man, but I had no idea that he, like Beetlejuice, will appear if you say his name three times.
googlegosselin
Well, come on. That’s just mean.
googlechriscoake
Sounds about right.
googlealicemunro
Which is better? Someone thinking you’re overrated or people not knowing who you are?

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3 Comments

  • This is hilarious. I’ve often been amused by the search terms that show up on my blog stats (discovering the sexual preferences of various reality show contestants seems to be very popular) but author searches tend to be more routine. A couple of exceptions: one person wanted to know “is tamas dobozy an asshole” (don’t know, but I liked his story) and nine – NINE – searched for a particular author’s name, followed by “nude” (no, I won’t say which one). It never occurred to me to look on Google – good on you! Now I’ve got another way to waste time… oh, wait, that doesn’t sound good…

    • I wrote about Taiye Selasi’s story “The Sex Lives of African Girls” and now I get the occasional entertaining search result. I’m afraid that people are disappointed to find GWS after searching for “sex african girls” or “sexy african girls” or “african girls to have sex with.”

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