Back at the beginning of 2008, I began a little "time capsule" project, tracking the suggestions that come up when you type a single letter into certain Google search windows (like the one in the top right of my Firefox window). Since one of the main thrusts of this project is that there are memes which exist outside of spacetime, connecting us together, I thought that tracking the changes that happened to those suggestions over time might give us some interesting ways of seeing the memes that have risen and fallen. The original entry is here. It was created in January 2008, but I have continued to update that list week by week since then.
In June 2008 I created an entry that graphed the changes that had happened in the first six months, you can read that entry here. Or you could take four minutes and watch the video I created to go with that blog entry back then:
A direct link to the above video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgvy2GvJ7OQ
It appears that Google has now made a major change in these suggestions. Check out the list that comes up for me now when I type each of the 26 single letters of the alphabet into my Google search. Please note that I have put search terms in capital letters for any results that have changed for me since the previous week.
Sunday March 29 2009 9 am CST, Saskatchewan Canada
AIR CANADA, best buy, CANADIAN TIRE, dictionary, ebay, facebook, GMAIL, hotmail, IKEA, JOB BANK, KIJIJI, LIMEWIRE, MAPQUEST, NHL, OPRAH, PLENTY OF FISH, quotes, ROGERS, sears, TELUS, utube, VIA RAIL, walmart, XBOX, youtube, ZELLERS
Compare that with what I saw a week ago, a list of results that hadn't changed since February.
Sunday February 22 2009 11 pm CST, Saskatchewan Canada
amazon, best buy, craigslist, dictionary, ebay, facebook, google, hotmail, imdb, jcpenney, kohls, lowes, myspace, netflix, orkut, photobucket, quotes, runescape, sears, target, utube, verizon wireless, walmart, xbox 360, youtube, zappos
What does this mean? It appears Google has finally made these suggestions more geographically specific to my region! How do my March 29 results compare with yours now? If you are in the United States, I suspect that you will see much more in common with my February 22 list, but even that I have no way of knowing now. I would love to hear from people around the world who may also now be seeing a more geographically specific result, and that includes our friends in America.
For the last fifteen months I have always entered my time zone and my location above these lists. Now, it looks like that information is going to be much more relevant. If you do provide me with a list, please provide the same information: the date, the time, and your location.
Thanks! And enjoy the journey.
Next: Top 26 Blogs 1st Quarter 2009
Edit: Additional notes
Reader Apocalypso Facto provided this list:
Friday, April 03, 2009, 13:49 UTC-4:30, El Tigre, Venezuela:
amazon, best buy, chase, dell, ebay, facebook, google.com (!), house, images, jobs, kayak, lost, myspace, news, obama, paypal, quotes, recipes, skype, target, ups, verizon, weather, xbox 360, yahoo, zune
Sunday May 3 2009 9 am CST, Edmonton, Alberta Canada
air canada, best buy, canadian tire, dictionary, ebay, facebook, gmail, hotmail, ikea, job bank, kijiji, LOTTO 649, mapquest, nhl, OLG, plenty of fish, quotes, rogers, sears, TWITTER, utube, via rail, WEATHER NETWORK, XE, youtube, zellers
Reader This and That provided this list:
Sunday May 18 2009 5 am CST, Saskatchewan Canada
AMAZON, best buy, CRAIGSLIST, dictionary, ebay, facebook, gmail, hotmail, IRS, JC PENNEY, KOHLS, LOWES, MYSPACE, NETFLIX, olg, PHOTOBUCKET, QANTAS, REALTOR.COM, SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, TWITTER, USPS, VERIZON WIRELESS, WALMART, XM RADIO, youtube, ZILLOW
(Hmm, what a strange collection of changes. Most of this appears to be a return to the American-dominated list we were seeing previously, but then what's the Australian airline Qantas doing here? And what's OLG, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation doing here? Also worthy of note, this is the first time in well over a year that "utube" was not the response for "u".)
Sunday May 24 2009 3 am CST, Saskatchewan Canada
amazon, best buy, CENTRELINK, dictionary, ebay, facebook, gmail, hotmail, irs, jcpenney, kohls, LIMEWIRE, myspace, netflix, OPTUS, photobucket, QUOTES, realtor.com, southwest airlines, TICKETEK, usps, verizon wireless, walmart, XE, youtube, zillow
(Another active week, with a few more surprises. Centrelink is an Australian government agency, Optus is an Australian telecommunications company, and Ticketet is an Australian event ticket seller. Why would these show up on this list while all of the Canadian-oriented responses we've been seeing since the end of March are still missing in action? Very odd. Makes me wonder if these updates are more real time now, perhaps I'm seeing Australian responses because it's late afternoon in Australia at the moment?)
Sunday May 24 2009 10 am CST, Saskatchewan Canada
amazon, best buy, CRAIGSLIST, dictionary, ebay, facebook, gmail, hotmail, irs, jcpenney, kohls, LOWES, myspace, NHL, OLG, photobucket, quotes, ROGERS, southwest airlines, TARGET, usps, verizon wireless, walmart, XM RADIO, youtube, zillow
(Okay, the plot thickens! Seven hours later and the Australian responses are gone. It appears, then that Google is now trying to make these recommendations more - dare I say it - Twitter-like? Or could they be rotating these results over a twenty-four cycle? Hmm.)
Sunday June 7 09 11 am CST, Saskatchewan Canada
AIR CANADA, best buy, craigslist, dictionary, ebay, facebook, gmail, hotmail, irs, jcpenney, kohls, lowes, myspace, netflix, ORBITZ, photobucket, QUOTES, realtor.com, southwest airlines, TWITTER, usps, verizon wireless, walmart, XBOX 360, youtube, ZILLOW