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'Is San Francisco Really That Gay?' And Other Stuff People Google About Us

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After our pals at Curbed NY and Curbed Seattle looked into what people were Googling about their cities, we decided to go deep into the Google searches about San Francisco. We typed simple searches about the city, its neighborhoods, and surrounding areas into Google and let autocomplete tell us what the top searches about San Francisco really are. We found that safety is very, very important and showed up in nearly every search, but that searchers are also interested in the housing bubble, fires in the Mission, and fog in Cole Valley.

First, we found out what searchers wanted to know about San Francisco itself. Apparently, the top three things that people want to know about our city are if it is really as great, as gay, or as expensive as they've heard. We can at least give them an answer to that last query: yes, San Francisco really is that expensive.

Next, we broadened our search out to the whole Bay Area. After a rather debatable question about whether or not the Bay Area is in northern California, searchers dived into housing prices. Is this a housing bubble? If so, is it going to burst? We'd love to know.


The top question about nearly every neighborhood in San Francisco related to its safety. However, apparently when smoke plumes are pouring out of the Mission, as they have recently, San Franciscans would like to know if is is on fire.


Tourists, of course, make up many of the searchers asking about Fisherman's Wharf, although we'd wager that plenty of San Franciscans who steer clear of the area couldn't really explain if Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39 are the same thing.


Cole Valley, surprisingly, was one of the only neighborhoods where fog was a top concern for searchers.


It was nearly impossible to search for the Marina given the term's many non-SF-related uses, so we went for the next best thing and tried Cow Hollow. A Quora search from several years ago notes that "there are the same amount of girls in their 20's wearing yoga pants and carrying lattes, [but] the most notable thing about Cow Hollow is that the housing is built on solid ground and not landfill."


Could searchers perhaps be a little confused about what Nob Hill actually is, given that it's pretty hard for a neighborhood to be either open or closed on Christmas? We'll go ahead and presume that residents inside the seven-by-seven perimeter are probably not clamoring to find the East Bay/South Bay grocery store of the same name.


The Haight got the usual questions about safety, but also had curious tourists wondering if it was worth the visit. Google results seemed to answer with a resounding yes.


Given Oakland's rapidly rising rents, the question about rent control is a very reasonable one to ask.


South San Francisco clearly does not have a great reputation.


There's a little geographical confusion about one of San Francisco's closest neighbors, Marin's Mill Valley.

· 'Is Brooklyn Really That Bad?': What People Google About NYC [Curbed NY]
· 'Is Ballard a City?': What People Google About Seattle [Curbed Seattle]
· Yikes: SF Closes In on a Year of Median Rents Topping NY's [Curbed SF]
· What Is the Difference Between the Marina and Cow Hollow? [Quora]
· Oakland Housing Price Increases Among the Top in the Nation [Curbed SF]

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