1. France is bacon, and other nuggets of wisdom

    Posted January 2, 2014 in visualisation  |  No Comments so far

    Yahoo! has an autocomplete service much like Google’s. When you enter the name of a place such as “France”, the results it suggests give an indication of what the Yahoo! search system thinks about it. Almost all of them are either derogatory or surreal.

    Kier Clarke over on Google Maps Mania has produced a Google Map which displays these Yahoo! auto-suggestions over the associated regions. It’s a mixture of the sublime and the ridiculous.

    Western Europe as seen by the Yahoo! autocomplete algorithm

    Western Europe as perceived by the Yahoo! autocomplete algorithm

    I especially like the ones where the algorithm gets confused over homophones and generates sentences that have nothing to do with the country at all, like “Greece is the word” in the screenshot above.

    But while those examples provide an insight into the rules and quirks of the Yahoo! system, most of the others reflect a disdain for the world as a whole – “Italy is racist”, “Wales is crap”, “Germany is being crushed” and so on.

    There’s something strange and uncanny about the effect the map creates, its jarring combination of bleakness, hostility, confusion and nonsense. This seems to be par for the course for objects created by the haphazard collision of software algorithms with the real world.

    (via Atlantic Cities)