Thursday, November 19, 2009

Google Insights: pop, soda, coke

It's a strange little quirk of geography and linguistics that 'soft drinks', generically, go by three different names in the United States (more than that, really). 'Soda', which in other countries generally describes something different, 'pop', which has a million other meanings including a genre of music, and 'coke', which of course is actually the brand name of a particular drink. Don't get confused: I think in much of the world, or at least much of the States, 'coke' is used generically to mean any cola (i.e. Pepsi as well) - but what I mean here is people who would refer, for example, to Sprite or root beer as a 'coke'.

Well, here are the maps in all their splendour. I should mention that I actually looked for 'pop can', 'soda can' and 'coke can', mainly to try to get references to pop music weeded out.

This is the map for 'pop', which by the way in Canada is the most common word for it. You can see the dark blue is up north, but hardly country-wide. It's not exactly 'the northwest' either, for it goes dim when you get to the Atlantic coast as well (Vermont, on the Canadian border, is one of the palest in the country). So geographically, what is this area? The Midwest, I suppose, more or less. Hm.

This one is a bit confusing. Theoretically, 'soda' (seemingly by far the most popular) is bicoastal: you should see usage in the Northeast and in the entire West. While that is to an extent true, a few anomalies show up here: first, California ranks low. Second, Wisconsin (Midwest as they get) ranks high. Third, so does Florida, which is confusing in consideration of the third one:

Here's 'coke', a Southern map if there ever was one (though it spikes all the way up to Lake Michigan). I had figured this map would be less defined, since the flagship brand of the Coca-Cola Corporation is rather popular nationwide, but this map does exactly what it promises. Interesting to go back to my earlier entry on religions and compare 'coke' to 'Baptist', 'pop' to 'Lutheran'.

And I dare anyone to find meaning in that...

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