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Have Your Ever Noticed What Google Autocompletes When You Type in Your State?


"Why is [State] so X"

(Image: Renee DiResta screenshot)

A blogger has created a map of the United States that associates each state with its prescribed Google autocomplete stereotypes. Local media have begun responding to their state's stereotypes based on this map as well. The general response? Look on the bright side by comparing themselves to neighboring states.

Renee DiResta, who made the map and posted it on the blog "no upside," writes the onus for the map stemmed for a desire to see "how do Americans really think about "those people" in other states? What are the most common stereotypes?"

For each state, DiResta asked Google “Why is [State] so X”. The autocomplete filled in the rest.

"It seemed like an ideal question to get at popular assumptions, since 'Why is [State] so X?' presupposes that X is true," DiResta wrote.

Pulling together all these autocompletes into an interactive map, DiResta found most of the terms were about a state's "culture" or the weather. Here are a few screenshots of  states and their Google autocomplete stereotypes:

DiResta goes further to analyze some of these findings. Here's some of that, but check out DiResta's full post for more information here:

The single most common result of all was “boring,” which appeared for 18 states with no particular regional concentration. Other popular terms (returned for >10 states) were “humid”, “windy”, “expensive”, and “liberal”. Strangely, Connecticut and Pennsylvania both returned “haunted”; apparently there are a lot of ghost sightings (and related walking tours). My favorite result of all was “enchanting”: New Mexico is beautiful.

Some local media in these states have picked up on their stereotypes. Jonathan Oosting for MLive reports that Michigan's designation as "poor" is "not entirely surprising." Rebecca Burns for Atlanta Magazine writes sarcastically "Thanks a lot, Google" for Georgia's label as "hot, humid, racist and boring." Burns sees the bright side though adding "at least Georgians can, as always, take schadenfreud-y comfort in looking to our neighbors like Mississippi (“poor, racist, backwards”), Florida (“weird, trashy”) and Tennessee (“fat, stupid”)." Skylar Browning, blogging for the Missoula Independent, also takes consolation in comparing Montana to its neighbor states:

How'd Montana come out? Well, we're not boring; a bunch of states had that come up as the first option. But we're also not cheap; apparently Montanans, New Yorkers and Californians, among others, are worried about cost of living.

Here were the top results for Montana from DiResta's experiment:

so windy

so great

so cold

so expensive


So windy it is. I'll take that, and the other three results, over Utah's or Mississippi's any day.

Find out what your state's stereotypes are here. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

It should be noted that DiResta points out your own personal search results -- if you were to try to replicate the experiment -- may vary since Google keeps track of your past search history and other factors as it tries to provide with personalized results.

(H/T: Gizmodo)

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