Friday, December 3, 2010

Auto-Complete This!

Google, I think I have to break up with you. And it’s not me, it’s you.

I have long been a fan. I even had you as my homepage for years. I always appreciated the quick response time and didn’t even mind the suggestions that popped up as I entered my own search words. But now your attempts to read my mind as I type in each letter has complicated my life so much and made you so high maintenance that I must now consider other search engines.

My computer is old, I admit. In human years, she would say she’s 39. (We all know what that means.) She also has a smoker’s cough, and her bones creak every time I save a file. But she still does the job she was hired for. I don’t use her to play video games or watch movies, and the hardest math I do is multiply and divide. Someone could replace my monitor with an old black and white text monitor and I probably wouldn’t notice.

But no, Google had to slip in its little auto-complete feature when I wasn’t looking. (Kind of like a roommate inviting a loser friend to move in and saying, “It’s just for a few days. You won’t even notice he’s here,” but the cigarette burns on the couch, pizza bones on the counter, and empty Schaefer beer cans in the shower scream, “Yeah, he’s still here!”)

The result? One of us has to go. So let me illustrate my last hook-up with Google:

Me: [I type “z” in the Google search box but nothing appears]

Google: What? Huh? Is someone there? [Rubs his eyes.]

Me: [My fingers are poised on the keyboard waiting for “z” to appear.]

Google: Okay, okay. Like, hold on a sec, will ya.? Hmmm, where’s my pants?

Me: [I type “o” after the “z” and still nothing appears.]

Google: Be right back. Gotta get some coffee.

Me: [I stare at the screen trying telepathically to get Google moving.]

Google: “Z.” Got it. Let’s see, what starts with Z? Z, Z, Z, zzzzz. *yawn*.

Me: Hurray! [“Zo” appears on the screen. I type in another “o.”]

Google: Okay, I’m gonna read your mind. Zo. Okay, Zamboni. Nah, that’s not it. I’ve got it--Zoey! You’re looking for porn with a girl named Zoey, huh? Or, maybe you’re thinking of Batman sounds, like “Zowie” and “Zounds”?

Me: [I bang my head on the keyboard waiting for control to return to me.]

Google: Aha, now you’ve got “zoo” in there. You want to go to the zoo!

Me: [I type in “k” resulting in “zook” in the search box.]

Google: Okay, I see you’re in central Texas. Let’s see what I got. San Antonio, no, how about this! [A page of Austin zoo links appears, including a map with pushpin markers.] Bam! Less than .0046 seconds! How’s that?

Me: Not by my watch! And I don’t want to go to the zoo!

Google: I think you do. That’s why I changed the search box to “Austin Zoo.”

Me: No, dammit, I typed in “zook!”

Google: Yeah, but I think so much faster than you that I knew you really wanted to go to the zoo.

Me: Jesus. I’m trying to get some info about a restaurant called “Zookini’s.” That is all.

Google: There isn’t one in Austin.

Me: I know! That’s not the point!

Google: You can eat at the zoo you know. How ‘bout I find you some zoo concessions, would you like that?

Me: No! [I try to ignore him and resume my typing but I haven’t noticed that he’s changed the search box. After I finish typing the search box displays “Austin Zoo kinis.”]

Google: Did you mean Austin Bi-kinis?

Me: What? No! Argghhh! [I backspace through the search box and start over. I type “zookiins” but only “zoo” appears in the search box.] Darn it! Misspelled it. Come on already!

Google: Hold on, freshening up my coffee while I look up other zoos since you don’t want to go to the Austin zoo.

Me: I don’t want to go to any zoo! Will you just show me what I typed so I can fix the misspelling?

Google: I’m way ahead of you. [A search page appears listing several zoos, a Ron Zook Insurance Agency, and several ads.]

Me: [The search box appears and I fix my misspelling. I start to press return.]

Google: Hold on there, sport.

Me: I don’t want to go to the zoo!

Google: Did you mean “zookini’s”?

Me: I already told you that.

Google: Yeah, but you forgot the apostrophe.

Me: They both get the same results.

Google: Maybe this time, but not always. So are we done here?

Me: Yes, I think so.

Google: Umm, okay. [Starts humming a tune.]

Me: Well, what are you waiting for?

Google: A little sugar?

Me: No, I am not thanking you.

Google: You’re welcome.

Me: That’s it! Pack up your auto-complete and get out!

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