When I was a kid I used to love playing Mad Libs. My friends and I would work tirelessly to come up with the funniest nonsensical stories. While not quite as cognitive as Mad Libs, but still entertaining, are the various games going around social media involving predictive text.

One game is a weird version of charades. Instead of acting the words out, you’re trying to get predictive text to provide you with a specific word. You and your friends open up a chat or text message and are given a word. You then have to type one word and leave it to predictive text to come up with the correct word. The guys in this video show us how it’s done.

Another favorite is to use predictive text and actually send it to your contacts. You create a sentence out of 10 or 20 words and send! Your friends will either think you’re being silly, or your grammar has taken a nosedive.

The newest one, which is more like Mad Libs starts off with the beginning of a sentence and you’re instructed to fill out the rest using only the middle predictive text button on your phone until it creates a sentence.

For example “when it snows I like______” use the middle predictive text button on your phone to fill in the blanks. My sentence comes out as this: “When it snows I like to see more muddy puddles on the kids.” Clearly I have in the past talked about how my kids like to jump in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig. The sentence is a bit nonsensical, but that is the point of the game.

Predictive text is supposed to aid users in typing quick messages by suggesting words based off of the first characters typed. Depending on what device you use, predictive text store data about the way you type, and common words you use in order to be more accurate. WIth the latest iOS 10 update iOS users can even enjoy predictive emojis, where emojis can replace words.

Another popular internet game is to type things into google to see what pops up. Let’s google the same phrase and see what we get:

When it snows

  • I like toddlers
  • I like
  • I need to be plowed
  • I miss the sun

Of course Google Poetics has been taking submissions from 2012 and some of the “poems” are pretty outstanding.

The text analytic suggestions are based off of what’s trending, what’s been googled the most, and if you’re signed in to your google account, what would be of interest to you. Much like the way your device stores information about how you type, search engines collect data about you in order to tailor your searches in order to bring information that it feels would be of interest to you.

Of course there are ways to train your predictive text keyboards and customize text analytics. This article from Lifehacker not only goes into indepth more about what predictive text is and how it works, it also give tips for making your keyboard more intuitive to words and phrases that you regularly use.

Don’t like predictive text? You can easily turn them off in the settings for your device. A simple internet search will bring up instructions on how to do it. As for Google’s AutoComplete, the laws are still being created and battled out in courts to draw a line between predictive analytics and personal privacy.

Until then, grab a slice of pizza and play some silly predictive text games. You can even download a real old fashioned Mad Libs game from your app store.

Jennifer Crawford, MLIS
Marketing Librarian for Access Innovations, Inc.