commanderW - 12:01 am on Sep 3, 2010 (gmt 0)
This is quite a phenomenon. I hope you were able to monetize it phenomenally :)
It is also phenomenal that you were able to finally figure out how it occured ! Too bad it was after the fact. But now you have this new knowledge to go on. So do the rest of us. Thanx for posting that. This seems a pretty big SEO insight to me.
I can see where such a thing becomes ephemeral however. I would expect search Suggestions to have some relation to current search request statistics. Typing in the letter 'b' gives me British Petroleum in the sixth position. But on the other hand, the first three are static local business -largest bank, largest electronics discount store, largest public transportation service (The fourth is for Bing !)
Maybe next you will figure out what it was that changed for your suggested result. Why does the Google bar show something different now for that third word. For instance, did something change in the social sphere, in the search statistics that inform the result (presuming that some search statistics are informing the result at all) ? Or maybe Google changed the way it chooses this third word. You might be able to find the trend and/or the method that controls this suggested result. That will be even more amazing !