Google Autocomplete API

by Posted @ May 08 2012


Google Autocomplete, previously known as Google Suggest,  has an undocumented API that provides the top 10 Autocomplete values for any keyword entered in. This is really valuable because most people only see the top 4 Autocomplete values when they enter a search in Google. By knowing what those next 6 values are, you have an idea of what any future Autocomplete values might be and you can nip any underlying issues (like ‘scam’ or ‘complaints’) in the bud.

The API behind this is used to power the Google Browser Toolbar, but it also works fine for retrieving the data directly. We’ve built a simple tool that allows you to enter in your keyword and receive those top values automatically.

After typing your phrase and clicking submit, the top 10 Autocomplete values will be opened in a new tab/window in your browser. We open up the results in your browser, rather than us retrieving the results ourselves, so that you can see what they are for you locally. I highly recommend using this tool in an Incognito or Privacy browser mode (Chrome or Firefox make that really easy). So here it is, enjoy:



Another handy tool for reviewing Autocomplete values is This tool shows you the Autocomplete values for your search phrase, and also your search phrase with every letter and number appended to the end of it. It’s limitation is that you don’t have direct control over the location that the values are pulling from, but that is a small sacrifice for the wealth of data it does churn out.

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  1. […] While not in the top 10 list, we did find many occurrences of ‘lawsuit’, ‘scam’, ‘layoffs’, and other unsavory recommendations. We won’t out any small companies here, but we do advise people to look at their Autocomplete values often. They change about every 6 weeks, and you don’t want to be caught off-guard with a negative value that can cripple your branding. We provided the API link format above, or if you want an easy input box you can use the one we’ve built here. […]

  2. Berto says:

    What does this do? does it just create a search for

    That is a great tool. Thanks.

    • Brian Patterson says:

      Yep – exactly! It just makes it easy for non-techy folks to check out the values returned for their search (typically their name or brand) in the Google Autocomplete API.

  3. Robin says:

    Hi Brian,

    You have done a great Job. I am here after reading your post on Search Engine Land. I couldn’t post comment there cause comment is closed there.

    You have really gone through the autocomplete completely. Very helpful.

    After reading the Autocomplete factors that Google is favoring autocomplete for the brand so brand/company should occupy those autocomplete with good one so that Google can’t show bad instead. Now I can say that When a business starts at that very time they should think about their company Google autocomplete & take action.

    That means that if we occupy the autocomplete based on the company structure then after that if the company doesn’t have that much negative comments or little on scam sites or complaints sites or on ripoff then they have less possibilities to get caught by that bad words right ?

    I do ORM on oDesk ,elance as a outsourcing contractor & doing well. I have my own method but I didn’t deal with that much autocomplete.

    Thank you for your articles.


  4. Suzanne says:

    Why do you highly recommend doing this search in private mode?

    • Brian Patterson says:

      Hi Suzanne, thanks for the comment. I highly recommend doing this in private mode so that your previous searches and history don’t influence what displays in Autocomplete.

      If you do it in private mode, then the only personalization will likely be location. Autocomplete does vary greatly by location, so you should use advanced options in Google to set the location that you want to check Autocomplete for (or, if you just want to see what it is in your current location, you don’t need to do this).

  5. Krystal says:

    Have you any any luck with yahoo/bing’s complete? I’ve heard the same concepts about Google’s but bing/yahoo seem to be another monster. Any advice?

    • Brian Patterson says:

      Bing and Yahoo have a much longer update cycle, and also tend to rely more on content signals as compared to the heavy emphasis that Google places on search volume from real users.

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