Thursday, October 29, 2009

Google Insights: whisperers

Ah, a well-travelled meme... when you search only the word 'whisperer', most of the related searches have to do with Jennifer Love Hewitt. However, there certainly have been a fair amount of things out there using the word 'whisperer' - a word that, otherwise, you will agree, is complete crap. Check it out:

It's actually a pretty interesting graph, how Cesar Milan and Jennifer Love Hewitt duked it out for whisper-supremacy before the Party of Five star blew dog-boy out of the water. As random stats go, it turns out they go for Ghost Whisperer most in Singapore (the USA isn't even in the top ten), Dog Whisperer most in the States, Horse Whisperer in South Africa and Baby Whisperer (which I admit I've never heard of) in New Zealand.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Google Insights: newspaper, diario, journal, صحيفة, газета

So I tried this before with the word 'school' on Google Trends, but you don't get the cool maps. So I tried it again. This is the word 'newspaper' in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian: five languages that to me seemed sufficiently multinational. The resulting maps do, to a limited extent, show the parts of the world where those languages are spoken, though of course 'journal' is a problem, being also an English word. Nonetheless, here you are:

There's the English-speaking world, more or less. Interesting how the UK, the USA, Canada, South Africa and Australia don't even show up in the top ten, which, apart from Bangladesh, is dominated by African countries. In so many searches do I see that cool swath across anglophone Africa from Namibia to Kenya.

How the Spanish-speaking world is dominated by South America... from Argentina on down, it's pretty much all Latin America save Spain itself. I didn't bother to check whether 'diario' is also Portuguese, but I guess it is since the only hues of colour in Africa are in Angola and Mozambique, two Lusophonic parts of Africa.

I didn't think the French one would work, what with 'journal' being a common word in English too. When at first you see all that dark yellow in French West Africa, it seems good. Yet Iran, India and especially Burma are tough to reconcile, and I have no idea why Canada and the USA should be the exact same colour here.

The Arabic one is as interesting for its gaps as for its greens. Yep, that's certainly the Arabic-speaking word. But note for example Iraq's absence. Or how Yemen is much greener than Oman. or, most strikingly, how the Sudan is darkest where its neighbour Egypt is as pale as the USA. Interesting also how Moroccan, Algerians and Tunisians clearly prefer to find their news in French. Of course I know how variant a language Arabic is. It could be that that far west they use a different word.
In the end perhaps the most interesting map in that it shows just how much the effects of previous union linger. In the case of the Ukraine and Belarus, it might be that the local word for 'newspaper' is the same as the standard Russian. But that doesn't go far to explain central Asia and the Caucasus, where people seem more inclined to search in Russian than in their own languages.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Google Insights: blood, sweat, tears

I guess what Churchill actually said was 'blood, toil, tears and sweat'. But as three of those are bodily fluids and the fourth isn't, the jazz/pop group was right to kick it out. Here, i follow their lead.

No surprise that 'blood' steals the show (averaging 58 versus 7 for tears and 4 for sweat), with people searching for 'blood pressure', 'half blood prince' and 'true blood' (whatever that third one is). The map of where people are searching for blood (no pun intended, we presume) is pretty much just a map of the English-speaking world. With 'sweat', you get the exciting combo of 'Keith Sweat' and 'sweat pants', and 'tears', which for some reason is most popular in the Philippines, seems to have the most to do with Eric Clapton...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Google Insights: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon

The first five letters of the Greek alphabet. 'Delta' is reliably the most-Googled, having a hotel chain, an airline and a geographical feature associated with it (Googled most in the United States and in Nigeria, and within the USA Googled most in Alabama), but 'beta' has the most peaks and valleys (most sought in Mauritania, where it must mean something other than half-finished computer programmes). By a large margin it's the Dutch who are most interested in 'gamma', but 'alpha' and 'epsilon' still belong to their rightful owners the Greeks.

Google Insights will also tell you which search phrases including the word in question are being Googled. So with 'alpha', it's the perhaps Biblically motivated 'alpha omega' that's most sought, tied with the perhaps sorority motivated 'alpha kappa alpha'. 'Windows beta' is the search term that wins for 'beta', 'gamma ray' comes in #2 behind 'praxis', something that a Dutch person will hopefully explain to me one day, 'delta delta delta' at #1 is definitely a sorority reference, and the winning search term for 'epsilon' is 'sigma epsilon', which perhaps makes sense to the Greek.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Google Insights: October

With Google Insights, you can overlay different times, showing how often a single search term was Googled in, for example, different calendar years. You can't embed the result for some reason, but the graph above shows the results for "October". As you can suspect, people Google "October" most often in October (and the end of September too, logically). I suppose the fact that 2008 outperformed 2007, 2006 and 2005 is just because more people use the internet and more people use Google every year.

So in 2009 it has been the Irish who Googled "October" most so far, while it was the Philippines in 2008, the USA in 2007, and Nigeria in 2006 and 2005. I have no idea what to make of those stats.