Predictive Web Searching

I tend to dislike the predictive text insertion used by some cell phones and handheld devices. Perhaps it’s because I’m too impatient for the tool to “learn” my usage enough so the predictions are actually useful. But maybe it’s because I think I know what I’m doing — and that the predictive text is actually slowing me down.

So it was with mixed feelings that I checked out the recent beta of Google Suggest today. Google’s latest idea is that we want even more help getting where we’re going online. And while I’m not sure what drives the predictive suggestions, it’s an intriguing idea, especially if the tool continues to learn based on people’s Web searches around the world.

It also has some interesting quirks. Searching for a colleague, I am at first directed toward sites on Paris Hilton, “Paperboy 2000,” and Papa Johns. You can also use the tool to see, for example, who the most popular Paul is. (Paul Frank with 7,720,000 results.) Kudos to Google for continuing to grow through innovation.

[Thanks, John!]