Saturday, March 27, 2010

Google Insights: death spikes

It's a sad reality that people are interested in celebrities dying. So much so, in fact, that the news of a celebrity's death causes a momentary surge of interest in that celebrity. In the case of Michael Jackson, that was enough to more or less swamp the whole internet. You can pick out exactly when these celebrities died by looking at worldwide searches for them from 2004 to present:













All deaths are not equal, however. Obviously Michael Jackson's death is something unprecedented in the history of the internet, but beyond that:



It turns out that, while Michael Jackson dwarfs everyone else so much that events before his death still trump other people's deaths. The aftershock of his death was still greater than the news of Patrick Swayze's death. Corey Haim's is too new to compare, but Heath Ledger's was a pretty high spike. George Carlin's was surprisingly low. Google Insights wouldn't let me compare Farrah Fawcett to other people, for some reason...
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