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Google’s search predictions for work-related queries are a tragedy

AP Photo/Jens Meyer
Grim reading.
By Corinne Purtill
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The Google search box is a sort of confessional for the digital age, a place to put the questions and admissions we can’t bring anywhere else in the hopes of absolution—or, better yet, an autocomplete prediction that immediately tells us we’re not the only one wondering whatever it is that compelled us to turn to the internet for answers.

The suggested searches that Google offers almost as soon as a user starts typing are based on aggregate reviews of real searches starting with that query. What gets suggested offers a window not only into the topics people search, but their state of mind when they do it.

“I think there’s something very comforting about that little white box that people feel very comfortable telling things that they may not tell anybody else about: their sexual interests, their health problems, their insecurities,” former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz told NPR. “And using this anonymous aggregate data we can learn a lot more about people than we’ve really ever known.”

With this in mind, Quartz At Work looked at Google’s predictions for common work-related searches. The results are grim.

Searches regarding the state of one’s work, job, boss, coworker, and office hint at widespread dissatisfaction, alarming stress levels, and—in one isolated but welcome case—high interest in 2 Chainz lyrics.

My work is making me…

My job is…


My boss is… (not always so bad!)

My coworker is…

My office is…

Note: The frequency of the search “My office is my tour bus” most likely reflects the popularity of the 2 Chainz song “No Lie,” featuring Drake, in which the line appears, rather than a surge of interest in using tour buses as coworking spaces.

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