Monday, September 14, 2015

Google Trends: Across my interests some confirmation and some big surprises.

I knew Google Trends was “a thing”, but it had fallen off my radar. Until I wondered if Craigslist was going the way of Rich Text Format. That’s when I started playing with the 10 year trend lines.

I began with Craigslist and Wikipedia...

  • Craigslist is looking post-peak
  • Wikipedia looks ill, but given how embedded it is in iOS I wonder if that’s misleading.
Then I started looking at topics of special relevance to my life or interests. First I created a set of baselines to correct for decliniing interest in web search. I didn’t see any decline
  • Cancer: rock steady, slight dip in 2009, slight trend since, may reflect demographics
  • Angina: downward trend, but slight. This could reflect lessening interest in search, but it may also reflect recent data on lipid lowering agents and heart disease.
  • Exercise: pretty steady
  • Uber: just to show what something hot looks like. (Another: Bernie Sanders)
Things look pretty steady over the past 10 years, so I decided I could assume a flat baseline for my favorite topics.That’s when it got fascinating. 

Some of these findings line up with my own expectations, but there were quite a few surprises. It’s illuminating to compare Excel to Google Sheets. The Downs Syndrome collapse is a marker for a dramatic social change — the world’s biggest eugenics program — that has gotten very little public comment. I didn’t think interest in AI would be in decline, and the Facebook/Twitter curves are quite surprising.

Suddenly I feel like Hari Seldon.

I’ll be back ...

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