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What does Autocomplete tell us about Europe?


autocompleteI was fascinated by a recent blog post about the way Google autocompletes searches for countries in Europe. You can certainly question how accurately the suggested word depicts a nation, but it still says something of the popular myths and (mis)perceptions in the English-speaking world about it. So I decided to go a bit further and to check what Google thinks of Europe and the European institutions. Here is what I found out.

My initial idea was to try and check the autocomplete results in as many European languages as possible. Sadly, this thing with asking questions appears not that popular in other languages and Google is helpless in providing a meaningful tip.

Very well, then – let’s see what we can find about Europe in English. The bold text below is the part I typed in the Google search field – the rest is what it came up with:


Why is the European Union concerned about pollution / important / bad / good

Why is the European Union so important / successful / socialist

Why is the European Parliament important / in Strasbourg / in Brussels / so weak

Why is the European Parliament so weak

Why is Europe a peninsula of peninsulas / a continent / called Europe / warmer than Canada

Why is Europe so expensive / rich / developed / beautiful

Why are the European elections important / “second order”

Why are the European elections so close / long


It seems the jury is still out on whether the EU is too “socialist” for people’s tastes, but it pains me to discover that the European Parliament is seen as “weak”. It has gained real decision-making powers over the last two decades and the crisis in recent years must have proven that we need joint efforts, or we sink on our own.

I certainly hope that more people will get the answer to the question about the importance of the European elections.


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