Google Attempts to Prevent Suicides and Poison-Related Deaths

A screenshot of Google query "ways to commit suicide"

It appears that search engine giant Google has taken it upon themselves to attempt to prevent suicides by prompting help for those who search for possibly suicide-driven queries. The first result in a Google search for “ways to commit suicide” is a red telephone with a hotline number for theΒ  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Other searches, such as “suicide”, “suicide prevention”,Β  “i want to die”, “how to die” and “suicidal” all yield the same first result.

I read today in The New York Times that this is the second time that Google has added such prompts for emergency-related queries. The first time was last month when the search engine began providing a phone number for the national poison control hotline after searches like β€œpoison emergency.”

The first three result for "poison emergency" Google query

Unfortunately, in both instances, Google isn’t exactly readings minds. A potentially suicidal internet surfer may type in “i want to take my life” or “i hope i die”, but the red telephone doesn’t pop up first. And queries like “i swallowed poison” don’t prompt the poison control hotline. β€œWe looked at many of the possible queries that could reflect interest in the topic,” Dr. Zeiger said about Google’s efforts. β€œWe are starting relatively conservatively.”

While it is a large, humane gesture from the search giant, I am curious to see if Google publishes any stats in the near future to validate that the new search results have indeed decreased suicides and poison-related deaths.

Twitter’s Internal Strategy is Compromised


I stepped out of the office for a little bit today and when I returned I found a 40-paged article on my desk, freshly printed and bound with a binder clip. The article, from TechCrunch, was entitled Twitter’s Internal Strategy Laid Bare: To Be “The Pulse of the Planet”.

Apparently, on Tuesday evening, more than 300 confidential Twitter documents and screenshots were sent to TechCrunch. Skimming through the article, I can’t help but think the following:

1.) How can Twitter be so rude to P. Diddy? (@iamdiddy)

2.) Is this really a strategy? And was it written by 10-year-olds? But, then, on the other hand, I’m thinking that Twitter must have a really youthful culture to use such juvenile language in official strategy meetings. Some examples include:

— Google would kick our ass at finding the good tweet.

— Twitter should tell me stuff without me searching for that.

— Getting into bed with Microsoft / Why did we start talking to Microsoft in the first place?

— We can give people stuff for free but not forever.

3.) Wow. I wonder how the folks at Twitter conned TechCrunch to not publish all 300 confidential documents that were sent to them.

If you haven’t skimmed through (or completely devoured) the article yet, please do so now! It’s hilarious and a bit enlightening at the same time.

Binging and Googling Myself

As many of you may know, Microsoft just came out with Bing, it’s new search engine that is positioned to rival Google.

And what was the first thing I thought to do with these two mega-power search engines? I’m shameless. I just Binged and Googled myself to see which one has the better search results. Let’s compare, shall we?

Number of Search Results

Google retrieved 397,000 Search Results, while Bing somehow managed to pull out 762,000 Search Results… hmmm. Somehow, I doubt they’re all about me.

– Bing wins Round 1!


Google performed the search in 0.40 seconds, while on the other hand Bing didn’t even tell me how long it took. In the broad scheme of things, I guess I don’t even care, but it would be nice to have that extra piece of information for shock value!

– Google wins Round 2!

Quality of Search Results

I’ve always loved Google’s ranking system. They never let two of the same domain name enter the first page. If they do, one of them is listed as a sub-category of the other. HOWEVER, Bing allowed two Twitter pages onto my front page. One is my Twitter account, and the other is a tweet that I wrote about Hillary Clinton speaking at my graduation. Bing also let two Brandstorm Community webpages up on the first page. Tsk tsk, Bing! What are you doing over there?!?!?

– Google wins Round 3!

Number of Options

So, this battle is all about who has the most options on their page. Google has a TON of applications and tabs at the top of their page that people use every day, which include Maps, Images, Video, News, Shopping, Gmail and More.

Let’s see what Bing has…. At the top of their page, they have Images, Videos, Shopping, Maps, MSN, Windows Live and More.

Great try, Bing, but Google is the king of Apps.

– Google wins Round 4!


Ok, so far Google is kicking Bing’s ass, but who will win the Battle of the Domain Names?

Google is a clever name. “Google” is derived from googol, which is 10100, that is, the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeros (in decimal representation). This is a great name choice for a search engine, as it implies that it retrieves a very large number of results.

And, so what does Bing mean? According to, it means “a heap or pile”. I see where they are going with that. It also is a type of cherry. And it also means “to go”. When I think of Mandarin Chinese, I think of the word “ice”, pronounced as bing. Hmmm… but somehow, I’m not buying it. Especially when you write it as a verb: Binging. It reminds me of binge drinking and bulimia (binge eating and purging)…. ICK!

Plus, there are already a lot of social networking sites out there with similar names, such as Ning and Ping. But there are other similar onomotopaeia-ish names, such as Boing boing, Blurb, Bonzo, Badoo, Blip, and Bebo. Very unoriginal and not well thought-out, Microsoft. And kudos to Google for the creativity.

– Google wins Round 5!

Overall, it’s Google at 4 and bing at 1. Google is the champion here, and it seems that the only edge that Bing has over Google is the number of results returned. But, peeps, it’s QUALITY OVER QUANTITY!

Check out the screenshots from my vain Binging/Googling session!

Above: Googling results for “erica swallow”

Above: Binging results for “erica swallow”

Introducing Google Voice

After 16 months of delays, Google has finally launched Google Voice.
The service features:

  • One phone number for all of your calls and text messages
  • Voicemail Transcription: All of your voicemails are transcribed, saved, and searchable.
  • Free conference calls for up to six people
  • International calls at a reasonable rate. For example, since I’m so in love with China, I could call my friends there for only $0.02 a minute!

David Pogue, technology writer for The New York Times, is on top of things with his Google Voice video. Check it out to get a better look into what it’s all about.

Get out there and check it out yourself! Unfortunately, it’s only available to current GrandCentral users. But, TechCrunch is actually giving away 100 free accounts to the first 100 people who email today. Maybe you still have a chance!