"Why is New York so…" Fill in the blank.
Many Americans stereotype the states they don't live in: New Yorkers are "rude," the South is "racist," the Midwest is "boring," Florida is just "weird," an so on. And weight, of course, is often a hot topic .
Blogger Renee DiResta decided to use Google's autocomplete function to discover exactly which stereotypes are most applied to certain states. Autocomplete is described on Google's website as an "algorithm [that] predicts and displays search queries based on other users' search activities." If you have this option turned on, you'll notice that automated responses appear every time you begin querying something in the Google search bar.
So what do we think of one another?
DiResta's findings were interesting. Only Colorado and Vermont were considered "healthy states," while seven others, including Alabama and Oklahoma, were seen as "obese." She then compared these keywords with third-party research on each state's obesity ranking. Apparently, Googlers were dead-on about six states where obesity is a problem; however, they were a bit hard on Wisconsin, which researchers found to be further into the "healthy" range than Google users seem to think.
In the grahpic (below), DiResta's findings are on the left; on the right is a visualization of data on U.S. obesity by state, based on a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
According to DiResta's blog, she found her results by typing "Why is [insert state] so [insert perceived characteristic]" into the Google search bar, and then she took the top four results that popped up for each state. She also found that some states (like Arkansas and Missouri) only had one or two responses.
Some other tidbits from DiResta's map of Google results: 18 U.S. states were considered "boring" (ahem, flyover states); other state's political stances were questioned, as in "why is California so liberal?" or "Texas so conservative?"
DiResta notes there are several factors that can influence the terms given by Google autocomplete, including past search history. To curb discrepancies, she also performed her social experiment searching in Incognito mode, where her web search was less affected by her own previous searches or web history.
To see some of the other state's stereotypes, check out the slideshow (below) or click over to DiResta's interactive website.
Did any of these Google search stereotypes surprise you, or did you see any adjectives that seem totally wrong? Sound off in the comments section, or tweet your thoughts to @HuffPostTech.
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