The lazy way to data list collection

By | March 13, 2013

Cool. This trick even works with non-English languages (although it seems that Google does not understand that nouns should be capitalized in German, and makes everything lower-cased).

Now we need a few improvements:
1) An API to auto-include suggestions in applications.
2) A Wolfram Alpha style way of auto-generating answer lists to questions.

… then we can get rid of Mechanical Turks for most trivial uses!

/via +Kai Saffron 

Reshared post from +Alireza Yavari

Google Sets
Give it two examples, and Google's spreadsheet can make a list of almost anything. 

Create a new spreadsheet in Google Drive, type mazda in A1 and honda in A2 (the first column), highlight the two cells and then press Ctrl (or Option for Mac) while clicking and dragging the small blue box from the lower-right corner to select additional cells where to place the Google Sets results.

Yesterday +TechCrunch  reported that if you make a spreadsheet in Google Drive (Google Docs, formerly), enter and highlight the names of two beers, and pull down on the corner of the spreadsheet cell while holding Option or Control, the app will automatically fill the following cells with the names of other beers. The information is pulled, seemingly, from nowhere. It doesn't just work for beer, car brands, colors, states, or websites, as reported, but just about any category you can think of. 

See more examples at

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5 thoughts on “The lazy way to data list collection

  1. Sophie Wrobel

    +Juliusz Switlik I tested with German regional specialty foods, it did work – but the list was not very extensive, and the capitalization was all wrong.

    I also tried putting a column header in the hope that categorization would be better (e.g. 'European Capitals' on top of Paris and Berlin), but that didn't have much effect: Hong Kong still showed up in the result. Still room for improvement… but either way, a cool feature!

  2. Claudio Procida

    Google engineers are experimenting so many mental trips pretty much like Pink Floyd and other rock bands experimented with LSD in the '60s.

  3. Juliusz Switlik

    True but my mistake I did't write that I put three capital towns in column.Works with other languages too(I tested with Polish towns)

  4. Sophie Wrobel

    Maybe it thought you were specifying airports? It's always hard to second-guess what the category is supposed to be from just two data points, regardless of whether a human or a computer tries to do the guessing. My son had a visual test of 'pick the cards that fit into the category suggested by the pictures on the left' last week, and decided that the category was 'my favorite foods' (i.e. cookies matches well with the strawberries and bananas) instead of 'fruit'.


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