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Google's autocomplete ditches algorithms for humans who type 32,000 words a minute

Yes, those Googlers love April Fools Day

Google's latest batch of April Fools Day jokes is out and the best (in my opinion) is a job advertisement for an "autocompleter."

Google's autocomplete uses algorithms to suggest searches as you type. But in the April Fools Day job ad, Google is looking for humans to watch user searches and complete them manually. Google stressed that the user searches Google employees watch are all "anonymized," so you might say Google is having some fun at the expense of privacy advocates who have criticized the all-knowing search engine. 

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"I've been an autocompleter at Google for a couple of years now, but I've actually been at Google since 2006," a human autocompleter explains in an accompanying video. "I started out as a spellchecker. Whenever you misspelled a word in Google search and it said 'did you mean,' and it gave you the right spelling, that was me, typing it out. I'm really good at spelling."

The job ad requires typing skills of at least 32,000 words per minute, but the guy in the video claims to "average about 34,000 words per minute" on a good day, "and I go through a new keyboard every eight days." 

Sitting in front of his computer, he says "This is my console. Letters come in up here from users - anonymized of course - and I try to make a prediction as to what they're searching for and I type it as quickly as I can."

He also said Google is developing some new headwear with a neural scanner that reads your thoughts so it can display search results without you having to type. That's actually not too far off from some of the comments Eric Schmidt has made that gave privacy advocates reason to shudder.

But this one, we think, is all a joke. When using the neural scanner, the Googler says "Right now I can only get it to return 'Princess Leia metal bikini.'"

The autocompleter job requirements include "willingness to travel (in order to provide local autocompletions) or relocate to obscure places like Nauru and Tuvalu to develop knowledge of local news and trends," and a "certificate in psychic reading strongly preferred: palm, tarot, hypnosis, astrology, numerology, runes and/or auras."

As the Google guy in the video explains: "Hiring autocompleters is definitely a challenge for Google. You can't really get a degree in autocompletion. ... This year Google is going to hire more people than ever before and people think you need to be some Ph.D, computer science, techno-mathmagician, but that's not always the case. Sometimes we just need people who can type really fast. And who are also psychic."

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter.

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