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