The World According to Google Search Suggestions

“Filipinos are annoying. Malaysians are ugly. Indonesians are lazy. Singaporeans are rude. Americans are dumb.”

That’s what Google suggested when I typed the nationality (+ are) into the search box the other night. I was doing an online research about Malaysia for my travel blog when I spotted a search suggestion that I thought was a little too sweeping. It said: Malaysians are ugly. While I am not Malaysian, it bothered me so much. Really? That’s your suggestion? 

I understand that the beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google, as well as the opinions of the general public, do not determine or impact search results (as explained here after encountering an issue regarding the results for the search term “Jew”). And I understand that there is no official statement on what drives Google’s auto-suggest. According to this website, however,  it’s been observed that the two main factors are: (1) Global popular searches  and (2) personal searches of the user. I am sure as hell I have not searched anything like it before so I’ll take the first factor. Haha.

It is also important to note that the search algorithms process new information faster… and you should now see fresher suggestions for queries on current topics of interest. But that makes it even more worrisome, if you ask me.

Anyway, that single search auto-suggestion got me fixated for the next hour or so that I started typing other nationalities to see what the engine will auto-suggest or how it will auto-complete my queries. Here they are. Many of these are national stereotypes. (I have written about national stereotypes before, read here.) Most of them are negative. A few are positive. Some are odd. Some are curious. Some are harsh. Others are just downright offensive.

More after the jump!


Try it, too, and see for yourself.


  1. I guess this links in with national stereotypes. Fortunately for us filo’s we’re not synonymous with “ugly” like our Malaysian neighbour. In saying that we do tend to look the same LOL. It’s also interesting to note about us apparently not being asians.

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