If you use the Internet — and being that you’re reading this, you do — you probably know about Google’s autocomplete, or autofill, function.
In case somebody printed this out for you to read offline, I’ll quickly explain: When you type a word or two into Google’s search bar, Google will guess what the rest of your search term probably is.
So if you start to type “Why America…,” for instance, Google will venture some guesses about how it thinks you’re going to finish that off.
The idea is that Google would save you the time of typing in the rest of the sentence if yours is one of the autocomplete options.
But those autocompletions don’t just come out of thin air.
As the website SearchEngineLand.com explains, those suggestions are based in large part on what other Internet users were searching for when they started typing in those same words.
So it can be a fun game to type in a few words and see what the rest of the Internet thinks of the subject by watching the Google suggestions unfurl. My colleague, Lisa Haberzettl, has written about this on a few occasions.
But as SearchEngineLand.com explains, those Google suggestions evolve over time and can even be different depending on where you are when you’re searching.
Here are a few questions about Maine we started in the Google search bar to find out — here today, anyway — what people think of our state:
Two out of the top three ain’t bad. Seems a lot of folks either think Maine is the “best state,” or are at least intrigued by the possibility it might be.
Then there’s a certain faction which believes Maine should be kicked out of the union completely. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the first search results that pops up under that “why Maine should not be a state” entry is a January GQ article in which the author wrote that Maine is “our most disturbing state,” a “terrifying wasteland” and should be sold to Denmark.
So there’s that.
Let’s throw another little word in our question and see what Google tells us…
We were kind of rooting for “Why is Maine so beautiful?” here. Nope. Poor, boring and white.
But now that you mention it, why is Maine called “Maine” anyway?
Turns out, nobody’s totally sure.
According to the website TodayIFoundOut.com:
“One of the most popular theories is that it is derived from the nautical term ‘the main’ or ‘Main Land.’ Maine has an incredible number of islands off it’s coast, so perhaps sailors referred to it as ‘Maine,’ as in ‘Main Land,’ to distinguish it from the surrounding islands.”
Other theories are that it was named after the ancient French province of Maine, or maybe a small English village that also once had that name.
A lot of folks on the Internet are interested in Maine government and geography, I guess.
Apparently, the shortest distance between the United States and continent of Africa is between Quoddy Head State Park and Safi Province, Morocco. That’s a bit more than 2,700 nautical miles, and the shortest distance to any place in Africa from any U.S. starting point.
I suspect this list will look very different in, say, 2017 or 2018, after this current presidential election runs its course and people start searching for other things.
As for the other question, it’s hard to tell if that’s a practical question about preparing for slick roads or legions of folks who are planning ski trips.
And finally, just the word “Maine” brings us these Google autocomplete suggestions.
Plenty of people hoping to have won the lottery or, short of that, perhaps want to sell off some of their belongings for extra money.