This article is a great window into the autocomplete/autosuggest features of some search engines. It specifically talks about Google and Bing. I will admit that I pretty much just use Google, so I don't know if there are other search engines that also do this. One line made me laugh and I think it is so true:
“Your search engine is your best friend, and you talk to it about
everything, even things you might not talk about to your real best
friends,” said Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land, a Web site that covers the search industry. “It’s a way that search engines reflect society. "
I thought this was just brilliant! I have certainly "Googled" things that I wouldn't talk with other people about--or at least, not before Googling the topic and seeing what I could figure out!!
I also think that it's important to think about this type of feature from the perspective of kids who are trying to type one thing in, and another thing comes up. Sometimes autocomplete is helpful because they don't know how to spell a word, but the one they want pops up when they start entering it. But oftentimes it can really sidetrack you or make you think that you are supposed to use their question, when really it's just a suggestion. I believe you can also turn it off, which might be a good skill to teach students.
Hardy, Q. and Richtel, M. (2012, Nov. 21). Don't ask? Internet still tells. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/22/technology/in-search-engine-results-a-peek-at-what-we-wonder.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0