Thursday, September 24, 2009

Google Insights: Oscar winners

The lifespan of a Hollywood movie: shorter even than the lifespan of certain species of beetle. I wasn't expecting perennial interest, but this does make an interesting graph of the quick rise and quick drop-off of Osscar-winning movies. This represents four of the five most recent Best Picture winners at the Academy Awards ('Brokeback Mountain' lost to 'Crash', a film whose title is too generic to mean much of anything, but still got more Google hits than any other movie here). In each case, the year of their release shows a huge spike, but then an immediate drop-off after that.

Also interesting: the USA shows up at only #9 for searches for "Slumdog Millionaire". The remainder of the top ten is made up entirely of: India (#2), its subcontinental neighbours (Sri Lanka #1, Bangladesh #5, Pakistan #8) or Indian-culturally-influenced countries (UAE #3, Mauritius #4, Singapore #6, Trinidad & Tobago #10). The United States led the searches for each of the others except "Million Dollar Baby", where it came #2 to Italy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Google Insights: Baptist, Mormon, Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist

One of the first things I fell in love with on Google Insights was the map function. I am even more of a map geek than I am a stat geek, so I was now in absolute heaven. I tried to find a stat-map that actually had some kind of meaning, and I stumbled across the idea of looking at searches various Christian religions on a state-by-state basis. It’s amazing just how religiously heterogeneous the United States really is and the extent to which each of the fifty so-called ‘states’, while from an international perspective hopelessly similar, actually do have distinct characters. So the graph is included here, but who cares? It’s the maps that steal the show.

The blue map is for the word ‘baptist’, which doesn’t necessarily denote the denomination (there’s John the Baptist, for example), but does tend to. And Bible Belt? Here you have it… the South are busy searching for Baptist this and Baptist that, while not a single state north of the Mason-Dixon line shows up on the Top Ten.

Of course Utah Googled the word “Mormon” the most. If any other result had turned up, I’d have called fraud. But I certainly didn’t expect a result this drastic: Utah so red that Senator McCarthy would rather be dead than visit there, but no one else except for Utah’s immediate neighbours care in the least. Hm.

I don’t know much about Lutherans, and just included this one through some random memory that one of the States bordering Canada had more Lutherans than anywhere else in the States. Yet what a beautiful map: a very specific chunk of the United States likes to Google the word “Lutheran”.

Don’t know what, if anything, to make of the Catholic map: Louisiana is a nice remnant of French rule, but apart from that I had thought it was the Atlantic coast, in particular Massachusetts and New York, where the Catholics lived. If so, I guess they don’t Google themselves. Nebraska I can’t explain at all.

I included Methodists because I couldn’t really think of a fifth… but of a strange map, similar to the Baptists but a bit more widespread. And I think Nebraskans just like Googling religions…

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Google Trends: Google Trends, Google Insights

Ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod… How could I have not seen it? How could I not have seen “Google Insights”, which is like 300% cooler than “Google Trends”? This service, which is pretty much the same thing but improved and using a lot of Adobe Flash, probably should have just been issued as ‘updates to the Google Trends platform’. But those wacky people at Google clearly know better than mere humans like us… so now in the quest for odd pieces of statistical information, I’ll integrate the two services and use little bits of info from both.

Note that Google Insights is actually over a year old: hardly earth-shattering news. I’m just a bit slow to the punch…

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Google Trends: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft

So how weird is it that, even though Google has resoundingly kicked the ass of Yahoo! as search-engine-du-jour, more people Google Yahoo! than Google Google itself? And how weird was that sentence?

I’m a bit sceptical of Microsoft’s low, and lowering, performance here, though of course Google and Yahoo! are branded by their url, whereas Microsoft uses ‘MSN’ as its main internet portal. Adding ‘MSN’ to the mix makes more sense, as it itself is Googled 2.8 times more often than ‘Microsoft’, though still less than Google and Yahoo! And, interestingly, stable across the years whereas Google and Yahoo! are steadily climbing.

Though it’s IT-paradise India that tops the list for Googling both Google and Microsoft, the city that Googles Microsoft most is, hilariously, Seattle, Washington. Perhaps they’re engaging in Google-bombing at HQ?

Oddly enough, India comes in only at 7th on the Yahoo! list. It’s Malaysia that leads the pack there.