Google's autocomplete guide to south-east London and north Kent suggests Bromley is crap, Woolwich is a dump and Gravesend is chav

This is what Google's autocomplete search function thinks of Bromley. High Street picture copyright Stacey Harris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

This is what Google's autocomplete search function thinks of Bromley. High Street picture copyright Stacey Harris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

First published in News
Last updated
This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , web manager

If you want to see a favourable outlook on life in south-east London and north Kent, Google is definitely not the place to look.

The search engine’s autocomplete guide to this area does not provide many positive results.

The autocomplete function provides a drop-down list of possible searches which Google thinks might match what you’re looking for. It’s apparently a “reflection of the search activity of users and the content of web pages indexed by Google.”

This Is Local London:

When we tested this out with some place names from around our patch for a bit of fun there were some dismal suggestions.

For instance, “... is crap” is the top option for Bromley and the second one for Orpington.

Lewisham comes out as “rough”, although there also seems to be some confusion about where it actually is.

This Is Local London:

There is similar uncertainty about where Greenwich is found, which perhaps has something to do with the other famous Greenwich in New York.

Eltham fares very badly with “... is racist” being the first autocomplete suggestion.

This Is Local London:

Woolwich, meanwhile, is both a dump and horrible according to the Google results. We’ve got no idea what the “... is fake” suggestion refers to – that seems like a particularly low blow from Google.

This Is Local London:

The “dump” tag appeared a lot when we were playing around with local place names. Aside from Woolwich, it was also assigned to Thamesmead, Swanley, Dartford and Gravesend.

Gravesend is also rather unkindly referred to as “chav”.

This Is Local London:

But at least it doesn’t do as badly as Bexleyheath which is “full of scum”, according to the first autocomplete prompt.

This Is Local London:

The council-bashing Bexley Is Bonkers blog more than its residents’ general wackiness probably explains why “bonkers” shows up when “Bexley is...” is typed in.

More complimentary and flattering suggestions are hard to come by, but a couple of local places do better in the autocomplete test.

For example, “Deptford is forever” is nice isn’t it? As well as predicting the area’s durability, it also seems to be a reference to a campaign set up after the popular anchor landmark was removed from Deptford High Street.

This Is Local London:

We’ve saved the best result for last, as it’s one in the eye for all those oh-so-cool East End hipsters.

Shoreditch may have previously been seen as the most up-and-coming of all the many up-and-coming places around London, but not anymore. Now “Brockley is cooler than Shoreditch” – so says Google, which makes it completely official and not at all meaningless. Hopefully people haven’t been basing their opinion of the place on the second result and getting it confused with a vegetable like Google seems to have done.

This Is Local London:

Why do you think there are so many negative suggestions for places around here? Do you think any of them actually apply or do you think Google is being unintentionally unfair to our towns and boroughs? Add your comments below – and also let us know about any other fun or interesting local autocompletes you’ve come across.

Comments (17)

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9:55am Wed 16 Apr 14

Tamer37 says...

The Silicon Valley, California is boring and nothing much there to do apart from modern buildings and the smell of garlic in Gilroy, San Jose
The Silicon Valley, California is boring and nothing much there to do apart from modern buildings and the smell of garlic in Gilroy, San Jose Tamer37
  • Score: 8

9:58am Wed 16 Apr 14

Tamer37 says...

London is richer, more posh, bigger, classier, best night life, best shopping and warmer than New York and all other USA cities.
That will do:)
London is richer, more posh, bigger, classier, best night life, best shopping and warmer than New York and all other USA cities. That will do:) Tamer37
  • Score: 12

10:12am Wed 16 Apr 14

white rabbit9 says...

Tamer37 wrote:
London is richer, more posh, bigger, classier, best night life, best shopping and warmer than New York and all other USA cities.
That will do:)
I don't know which is worse, being surrounded by rich people or being surrounded by chavs.
[quote][p][bold]Tamer37[/bold] wrote: London is richer, more posh, bigger, classier, best night life, best shopping and warmer than New York and all other USA cities. That will do:)[/p][/quote]I don't know which is worse, being surrounded by rich people or being surrounded by chavs. white rabbit9
  • Score: 12

10:23am Wed 16 Apr 14

Dr. Nick says...

The reporter needs to understand how search engine AI works - it's the most basic of all AI and not really rocket science. It is also not like predicative text, nor is someone programming it to do that. I find it hilarious how paranoid people can get with AI - so glad we never felt that way in the field; that would have been funny though.
The reporter needs to understand how search engine AI works - it's the most basic of all AI and not really rocket science. It is also not like predicative text, nor is someone programming it to do that. I find it hilarious how paranoid people can get with AI - so glad we never felt that way in the field; that would have been funny though. Dr. Nick
  • Score: 9

10:24am Wed 16 Apr 14

PaulErith says...

white rabbit9 wrote:
Tamer37 wrote:
London is richer, more posh, bigger, classier, best night life, best shopping and warmer than New York and all other USA cities.
That will do:)
I don't know which is worse, being surrounded by rich people or being surrounded by chavs.
....Being surrounded by rich chavs! (Like that twot from Liverpool who won the lottery and wasted it all on rubbish including buying old bangers and driving them around the local estate)
[quote][p][bold]white rabbit9[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tamer37[/bold] wrote: London is richer, more posh, bigger, classier, best night life, best shopping and warmer than New York and all other USA cities. That will do:)[/p][/quote]I don't know which is worse, being surrounded by rich people or being surrounded by chavs.[/p][/quote]....Being surrounded by rich chavs! (Like that twot from Liverpool who won the lottery and wasted it all on rubbish including buying old bangers and driving them around the local estate) PaulErith
  • Score: 16

10:26am Wed 16 Apr 14

Dr. Nick says...

Try "Simon is " ... you will find that one funny ;)
Try "Simon is " ... you will find that one funny ;) Dr. Nick
  • Score: 25

10:52am Wed 16 Apr 14

Gypo.Joe says...

Keston is a nice place to live.

Says nah more.
Keston is a nice place to live. Says nah more. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 0

10:53am Wed 16 Apr 14

Simon Bull says...

Dr. Nick wrote:
The reporter needs to understand how search engine AI works - it's the most basic of all AI and not really rocket science. It is also not like predicative text, nor is someone programming it to do that. I find it hilarious how paranoid people can get with AI - so glad we never felt that way in the field; that would have been funny though.
That's web editor if you don't mind :-) I'm not sure Google would appreciate you describing its search engine as the most basic of AI. It's far from that. And as Google's own explanation of its autocomplete function says, it IS programmed to churn out the suggestions it does based on user activity and indexed pages.

In any case though, this article is just a bit of fun.

Oh, and not that your real name is likely to be Nick, but 'Nick is ...' provides the same result as Simon!
[quote][p][bold]Dr. Nick[/bold] wrote: The reporter needs to understand how search engine AI works - it's the most basic of all AI and not really rocket science. It is also not like predicative text, nor is someone programming it to do that. I find it hilarious how paranoid people can get with AI - so glad we never felt that way in the field; that would have been funny though.[/p][/quote]That's web editor if you don't mind :-) I'm not sure Google would appreciate you describing its search engine as the most basic of AI. It's far from that. And as Google's own explanation of its autocomplete function says, it IS programmed to churn out the suggestions it does based on user activity and indexed pages. In any case though, this article is just a bit of fun. Oh, and not that your real name is likely to be Nick, but 'Nick is ...' provides the same result as Simon! Simon Bull
  • Score: 3

11:28am Wed 16 Apr 14

concerned.erith says...

I typedin goolge Nick is and it says Nick is gay
I typedin goolge Nick is and it says Nick is gay concerned.erith
  • Score: 17

11:36am Wed 16 Apr 14

Dr. Nick says...

Simon Bull wrote:
Dr. Nick wrote:
The reporter needs to understand how search engine AI works - it's the most basic of all AI and not really rocket science. It is also not like predicative text, nor is someone programming it to do that. I find it hilarious how paranoid people can get with AI - so glad we never felt that way in the field; that would have been funny though.
That's web editor if you don't mind :-) I'm not sure Google would appreciate you describing its search engine as the most basic of AI. It's far from that. And as Google's own explanation of its autocomplete function says, it IS programmed to churn out the suggestions it does based on user activity and indexed pages.

In any case though, this article is just a bit of fun.

Oh, and not that your real name is likely to be Nick, but 'Nick is ...' provides the same result as Simon!
Sorry, Mr. Web Editor ;o)

As I lecture on the subject and have a PhD in AI, I do know what I am talking about... basically in the world of AI, Web-search engines use the most basic for of AI known as 'fluid AI' and is a Boolean Search methodology using Boolean Logic (re: George Boole, the C19th mathmo) - nothing much more than that. The "is" is an operand just like "or", "and" "nor" - forked links are made via use of the operands which Google like to call "suggestions". I will ask Nirine at Google to supply the full lowdown on how it works if you need it.

And yes I did understand it was all a bit of fun :o) ... that is why I put the "Simon is " and to prove that there is no magic or programming involved (the "is" will give the same and the name does not matter), it is just Boolean based and can be fun - a bit like Googling oneself.

There are some very fun games you can play with Boolean searches which give very rude results indeed :o)
[quote][p][bold]Simon Bull[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dr. Nick[/bold] wrote: The reporter needs to understand how search engine AI works - it's the most basic of all AI and not really rocket science. It is also not like predicative text, nor is someone programming it to do that. I find it hilarious how paranoid people can get with AI - so glad we never felt that way in the field; that would have been funny though.[/p][/quote]That's web editor if you don't mind :-) I'm not sure Google would appreciate you describing its search engine as the most basic of AI. It's far from that. And as Google's own explanation of its autocomplete function says, it IS programmed to churn out the suggestions it does based on user activity and indexed pages. In any case though, this article is just a bit of fun. Oh, and not that your real name is likely to be Nick, but 'Nick is ...' provides the same result as Simon![/p][/quote]Sorry, Mr. Web Editor ;o) As I lecture on the subject and have a PhD in AI, I do know what I am talking about... basically in the world of AI, Web-search engines use the most basic for of AI known as 'fluid AI' and is a Boolean Search methodology using Boolean Logic (re: George Boole, the C19th mathmo) - nothing much more than that. The "is" is an operand just like "or", "and" "nor" - forked links are made via use of the operands which Google like to call "suggestions". I will ask Nirine at Google to supply the full lowdown on how it works if you need it. And yes I did understand it was all a bit of fun :o) ... that is why I put the "Simon is " and to prove that there is no magic or programming involved (the "is" will give the same and the name does not matter), it is just Boolean based and can be fun - a bit like Googling oneself. There are some very fun games you can play with Boolean searches which give very rude results indeed :o) Dr. Nick
  • Score: 36

11:37am Wed 16 Apr 14

Dr. Nick says...

concerned.erith wrote:
I typedin goolge Nick is and it says Nick is gay
That was the point I made - do keep up at the back...
[quote][p][bold]concerned.erith[/bold] wrote: I typedin goolge Nick is and it says Nick is gay[/p][/quote]That was the point I made - do keep up at the back... Dr. Nick
  • Score: 3

11:43am Wed 16 Apr 14

ron.1952 says...

Ohh Nicky I do love the intelligent military type.


Ronny. x
Ohh Nicky I do love the intelligent military type. Ronny. x ron.1952
  • Score: -12

11:49am Wed 16 Apr 14

Dr. Nick says...

ron.1952 wrote:
Ohh Nicky I do love the intelligent military type.


Ronny. x
You should see me in uniform then ;o) lol
[quote][p][bold]ron.1952[/bold] wrote: Ohh Nicky I do love the intelligent military type. Ronny. x[/p][/quote]You should see me in uniform then ;o) lol Dr. Nick
  • Score: 36

11:58am Wed 16 Apr 14

Simon Bull says...

Dr. Nick wrote:
Simon Bull wrote:
Dr. Nick wrote:
The reporter needs to understand how search engine AI works - it's the most basic of all AI and not really rocket science. It is also not like predicative text, nor is someone programming it to do that. I find it hilarious how paranoid people can get with AI - so glad we never felt that way in the field; that would have been funny though.
That's web editor if you don't mind :-) I'm not sure Google would appreciate you describing its search engine as the most basic of AI. It's far from that. And as Google's own explanation of its autocomplete function says, it IS programmed to churn out the suggestions it does based on user activity and indexed pages.

In any case though, this article is just a bit of fun.

Oh, and not that your real name is likely to be Nick, but 'Nick is ...' provides the same result as Simon!
Sorry, Mr. Web Editor ;o)

As I lecture on the subject and have a PhD in AI, I do know what I am talking about... basically in the world of AI, Web-search engines use the most basic for of AI known as 'fluid AI' and is a Boolean Search methodology using Boolean Logic (re: George Boole, the C19th mathmo) - nothing much more than that. The "is" is an operand just like "or", "and" "nor" - forked links are made via use of the operands which Google like to call "suggestions". I will ask Nirine at Google to supply the full lowdown on how it works if you need it.

And yes I did understand it was all a bit of fun :o) ... that is why I put the "Simon is " and to prove that there is no magic or programming involved (the "is" will give the same and the name does not matter), it is just Boolean based and can be fun - a bit like Googling oneself.

There are some very fun games you can play with Boolean searches which give very rude results indeed :o)
It's interesting stuff and I'll bow to your better knowledge on the AI sophistication. One thing though, the "...is gay" suggestion doesn't apply to every name. We played around with all our names here and got some very amusing and varied results :-) I'm assuming the "... is gay" thing relates to celebrity rumours or fictional characters.

You'll have to let me know about the Boolean search games so I can try them if they're funny. I have enjoyed certain Google tricks in the past like the Chuck Norris one and the one that makes the screen look all lop-sided!
[quote][p][bold]Dr. Nick[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Simon Bull[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dr. Nick[/bold] wrote: The reporter needs to understand how search engine AI works - it's the most basic of all AI and not really rocket science. It is also not like predicative text, nor is someone programming it to do that. I find it hilarious how paranoid people can get with AI - so glad we never felt that way in the field; that would have been funny though.[/p][/quote]That's web editor if you don't mind :-) I'm not sure Google would appreciate you describing its search engine as the most basic of AI. It's far from that. And as Google's own explanation of its autocomplete function says, it IS programmed to churn out the suggestions it does based on user activity and indexed pages. In any case though, this article is just a bit of fun. Oh, and not that your real name is likely to be Nick, but 'Nick is ...' provides the same result as Simon![/p][/quote]Sorry, Mr. Web Editor ;o) As I lecture on the subject and have a PhD in AI, I do know what I am talking about... basically in the world of AI, Web-search engines use the most basic for of AI known as 'fluid AI' and is a Boolean Search methodology using Boolean Logic (re: George Boole, the C19th mathmo) - nothing much more than that. The "is" is an operand just like "or", "and" "nor" - forked links are made via use of the operands which Google like to call "suggestions". I will ask Nirine at Google to supply the full lowdown on how it works if you need it. And yes I did understand it was all a bit of fun :o) ... that is why I put the "Simon is " and to prove that there is no magic or programming involved (the "is" will give the same and the name does not matter), it is just Boolean based and can be fun - a bit like Googling oneself. There are some very fun games you can play with Boolean searches which give very rude results indeed :o)[/p][/quote]It's interesting stuff and I'll bow to your better knowledge on the AI sophistication. One thing though, the "...is gay" suggestion doesn't apply to every name. We played around with all our names here and got some very amusing and varied results :-) I'm assuming the "... is gay" thing relates to celebrity rumours or fictional characters. You'll have to let me know about the Boolean search games so I can try them if they're funny. I have enjoyed certain Google tricks in the past like the Chuck Norris one and the one that makes the screen look all lop-sided! Simon Bull
  • Score: 2

12:06pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Dr. Nick says...

Simon Bull wrote:
Dr. Nick wrote:
Simon Bull wrote:
Dr. Nick wrote:
The reporter needs to understand how search engine AI works - it's the most basic of all AI and not really rocket science. It is also not like predicative text, nor is someone programming it to do that. I find it hilarious how paranoid people can get with AI - so glad we never felt that way in the field; that would have been funny though.
That's web editor if you don't mind :-) I'm not sure Google would appreciate you describing its search engine as the most basic of AI. It's far from that. And as Google's own explanation of its autocomplete function says, it IS programmed to churn out the suggestions it does based on user activity and indexed pages.

In any case though, this article is just a bit of fun.

Oh, and not that your real name is likely to be Nick, but 'Nick is ...' provides the same result as Simon!
Sorry, Mr. Web Editor ;o)

As I lecture on the subject and have a PhD in AI, I do know what I am talking about... basically in the world of AI, Web-search engines use the most basic for of AI known as 'fluid AI' and is a Boolean Search methodology using Boolean Logic (re: George Boole, the C19th mathmo) - nothing much more than that. The "is" is an operand just like "or", "and" "nor" - forked links are made via use of the operands which Google like to call "suggestions". I will ask Nirine at Google to supply the full lowdown on how it works if you need it.

And yes I did understand it was all a bit of fun :o) ... that is why I put the "Simon is " and to prove that there is no magic or programming involved (the "is" will give the same and the name does not matter), it is just Boolean based and can be fun - a bit like Googling oneself.

There are some very fun games you can play with Boolean searches which give very rude results indeed :o)
It's interesting stuff and I'll bow to your better knowledge on the AI sophistication. One thing though, the "...is gay" suggestion doesn't apply to every name. We played around with all our names here and got some very amusing and varied results :-) I'm assuming the "... is gay" thing relates to celebrity rumours or fictional characters.

You'll have to let me know about the Boolean search games so I can try them if they're funny. I have enjoyed certain Google tricks in the past like the Chuck Norris one and the one that makes the screen look all lop-sided!
Try some of these things to keep everyone amused : http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/List_of_Goo
gle_hoaxes_and_easte
r_eggs
[quote][p][bold]Simon Bull[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dr. Nick[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Simon Bull[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dr. Nick[/bold] wrote: The reporter needs to understand how search engine AI works - it's the most basic of all AI and not really rocket science. It is also not like predicative text, nor is someone programming it to do that. I find it hilarious how paranoid people can get with AI - so glad we never felt that way in the field; that would have been funny though.[/p][/quote]That's web editor if you don't mind :-) I'm not sure Google would appreciate you describing its search engine as the most basic of AI. It's far from that. And as Google's own explanation of its autocomplete function says, it IS programmed to churn out the suggestions it does based on user activity and indexed pages. In any case though, this article is just a bit of fun. Oh, and not that your real name is likely to be Nick, but 'Nick is ...' provides the same result as Simon![/p][/quote]Sorry, Mr. Web Editor ;o) As I lecture on the subject and have a PhD in AI, I do know what I am talking about... basically in the world of AI, Web-search engines use the most basic for of AI known as 'fluid AI' and is a Boolean Search methodology using Boolean Logic (re: George Boole, the C19th mathmo) - nothing much more than that. The "is" is an operand just like "or", "and" "nor" - forked links are made via use of the operands which Google like to call "suggestions". I will ask Nirine at Google to supply the full lowdown on how it works if you need it. And yes I did understand it was all a bit of fun :o) ... that is why I put the "Simon is " and to prove that there is no magic or programming involved (the "is" will give the same and the name does not matter), it is just Boolean based and can be fun - a bit like Googling oneself. There are some very fun games you can play with Boolean searches which give very rude results indeed :o)[/p][/quote]It's interesting stuff and I'll bow to your better knowledge on the AI sophistication. One thing though, the "...is gay" suggestion doesn't apply to every name. We played around with all our names here and got some very amusing and varied results :-) I'm assuming the "... is gay" thing relates to celebrity rumours or fictional characters. You'll have to let me know about the Boolean search games so I can try them if they're funny. I have enjoyed certain Google tricks in the past like the Chuck Norris one and the one that makes the screen look all lop-sided![/p][/quote]Try some of these things to keep everyone amused : http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/List_of_Goo gle_hoaxes_and_easte r_eggs Dr. Nick
  • Score: 7

1:38pm Wed 16 Apr 14

chris8210 says...

To be fair everything reported is true
To be fair everything reported is true chris8210
  • Score: 8

7:12pm Tue 22 Apr 14

Gypo.Joe says...

Oh my indigenous sides.
Oh my indigenous sides. Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 3

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