Gameplay as an introduction to data mining and taxonomy

Google Feud is an interesting online game using Google autocomplete. It is a good way to open a discussion into data mining and taxonomy.

The game, by developer Justin Hook , is fun and surprisingly addictive. It harnesses the mystery of Google’s autocomplete search function, asking players to choose the next word in a broad query such as ‘Google…’ or ‘I love my…’, the game gives users three chances to complete the leader board, giving a big X with every wrong answer.

What’s interesting about this game is the ease with which it could be used for data mining. If the guesses are recorded and sorted by frequency, it could supply huge amounts of useful data; all from real people, giving their best guesses.

Sorting this data using techniques like those used in taxonomy and cladistics could reveal results to improve future search or autocomplete suggestions. I guess it’s a fairly safe bet Google do this type of thing, and much more, with their search data already.

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