I'm not sure what was going on at TechCrunch that they felt a sudden need to get information on God. I'm guessing it wasn't sudden pangs of conscience triggered by the 8/28 rally. But we applaud their search! And the search, it turns out, turned up something curious:
When you try to do a search for “God” with the new Google Instant feature, it predicts that you’re going to type in “Godaddy” instead. If you hit a space after the “d”, it thinks you’re looking for “God of War”, the popular videogame. So the only way to actually search for “God” with this new Google Instant feature is to hit the search button.
I'm pretty sure TechCrunch is followed by the folks at Google. So I wondered if they had done any theological tweaking of the algorithm in the wake of the post. Here's my test:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/zwNkHPHQmrw?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
The answer is no -- they didn't. "Godaddy" reigns. There are technological reasons for all of this:
To make Google Instant work, the search giant looks across all queries to find the most popular ones and then predicts what it thinks you’re going to type and auto-populates the results based on that. Clearly, both “Godaddy” and “God of War” are more popular queries on Google — something that is either humorous or sad depending on your level of religiousness.
I did persevere. I fully typed "God." I hit space. I ignored the autofills of "God of War" options. I hit return and got actual search results for God. Atheists will be encouraged that the number three results is "God is Imaginary."