When I type a place name, the genie tries to predict what I'm going to enter by examining what I'm typing, until some point when the genie just goes insane
I've run into what you are seeing before and asked about it about a year ago, getting an explanation along the lines of the following:
The auto fill is not really a predictive system like google searching. It takes what has been typed so far and compares it to the names in the places database and does the best match it can. This includes matching against all the alternate names a place may have. It does, however, to some extent include partial word searches.
When you go to the Places database and look under Cambridgeshire at: https://www.familysearch.org/research/places/?searchTypeaheadInputText=cambridgeshire&text=cambridgeshire&focusedId=3498 you will see that Camb is on the list as an alternate name and so the name pops up in the list of suggestions. Cambr is not and does not correspond to anything in the database so then you are back to getting all sorts of Elys until you finish completely typing out Cambridgeshire, or one of its other variants.
Notice that Cam is also on the list, which is why you as you type in Ely, the series of top choices you see are:
Discussion and commentary as to whether they should have programmed it this way and if other techniques for matching would be better, I'll leave to others.
The autofill system for standardized place names tries its best to find a place that happens to already be in the database. However, there are times that the system does not already have a place that is exactly correct. The task of having every place name that has ever existed in the world since the beginning of time, considering all the changes that have occurred as generations, countries, states, counties, provinces, cities, and communities, is indeed a challenge maintaining sanity while trying to keep all this information up to speed.
When you see that a standardized place name is missing in the system, you can suggest an additional standardized place by using the information within this link: https://www.familysearch.org/help/helpcenter/article/how-do-i-request-a-new-place-in-the-database-of-standardized-places
Thank you for you use of FamilySearch/Family Tree.
If you have additional comments or suggestions, please reply to the Community.
Thanks for your input,
The issue was not that the standardised place name does not exist within the system.
The genie had already located the set of matching places by the time I had typed "Ely, Camb"
For some unknown reason, adding the the letter 'r' to the end made the input field "Ely, Cambr" inconsistent with "Ely, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom."
At present, while the search function is still unreliable, I do not want to use the full standardised place name because according to the suggestion "less is more" I need to reduce the specificity of the query. If I use the full standardised place name in the search, and select say, "Ely, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom. Civil Registration District, 1837 - 2007" then I might exclude all results from all the other variants of the same Standard Place, such as City 1801 - Present, Poor Law Union etc.
My question concerns the autofill mechanism being unpredictable. It does not intstil confidence. I am certain that the current behaviour could be fixed, and then users would have one less niggle to contend with.
I am pretty sure that I understand your issue. I'm not sure that there is an immediate fix for you but most of the places that are suggested for most users do work more smoothly than what you see at times. If there are problems, though, you can suggest a new version of a standardized place name and the engineers are always working on improving the choices and autofill options.
With the latest home page screen the 'search' option does not autofill standard place names. Why is this missing all of a sudden when it was there before this update? Thanks, Family History Consultant, Draper, Utah
adding to previous comment, Autofill place names doesn't work on 'search' or 'find' in my tree, just experimented with using Firefox and Chrome as browsers, nothing for both, also do not have a pop-up blocker installed.