The Future according to Google Search results

We google everything these days.

The amount of knowledge out there is immense, and we tap into it everyday through the all mighty search box which, algorithmically, renders most relevant links in the form of a results front page.

What would be google’s search view on future events, not just historic?. My guess was, given the amount of pages and content referring to future happenings, google’s first page of results could be a pretty good resource for forecast validation.

Randall Munroe author and creator of xkcd, the exceptional webcomic (and I quote) about computer science, technology, mathematics, science, philosophy, language, pop culture and romance, did this back in 2011 (hat tip for doing all the work).

In terms of methodology, these are future events which come up in google search first page after typing ‘by year ####’, ‘in the year ####’ or similar combinations.

Here is an slideshare presentation with the outcomes, enjoy the trip and don’t forget to go to the last slide to check the ‘other’ predictions, a collection of preposterous and funny fortuneteller bites:

An after thought, if we label good predictions (vs bad) we could train a machine learning model to leverage the vast amount of data behind the search box and come up with a reliable future prognosis.

A nice topic for next post. Stay tuned.