London Blog

Friday Fun: Google Trends

Nicholas Wigginton highlighted Google Trends a couple of weeks ago. You put in a search term and get back a graph showing the peaks and troughs in searches for that phrase over a given time period. For very common terms, you also get a chart of news references for the term. Here are a few examples.

1. Richard Dawkins

After a few years evolving in the wilderness, the Great Atheist of Oxford slams back into prominence towards the end of 2006 with the publication of The God Delusion. Google Trends also gives a geographic breakdown (searches for the given term are normalised by dividing by the total of all searches from the region). For some reason, the normalised Irish were twice as likely as Americans to search for Richard Dawkins. Edinburgh was top city.

2. Cancer cure

There’s nothing very informative in the graph, but top region for this search term is the Philippines (any theories why?), followed by Canada and the USA.

3. Nanotechnology

Interesting to note the prominence of Asia-Pacific in this line-up. And look at Iran.

4. Stem cells

Here’s a good example of how Google Trends can help identify reasons for peaks in search terms. For stem cells, India was again top dog, followed by Singapore and Australia.

That’s just a few examples. Have a play (it is Friday afternoon) and see if you can come up with anything surprising.


  1. Report this comment

    Nicholas Wigginton said:

    Very cool searches. The summer lull is interesting. I wonder if it’s because school’s out?

  2. Report this comment

    Wouter Achten said:

    “global warming”: summer, Christmas and Al Gore effect…

  3. Report this comment

    Bob O'Hara said:

    The news stories for religion are interesting. Now one shouldn’t normally conflate causation and correlation, but in this case it’s funny, so it must be true.

    See that big drop before (B)? Well the story was

    The next Billy Graham? Religion experts say there won’t be one

    Ah, thought everybody. It’s safe to return.

    The rise leading up to (D) was brought to a massive halt by this story from the Belleville News-Democrat: Religion briefs. Um.

    And finally, what is story (F) that started the precipitous decline?

    Romney on religion

    Poor guy.

  4. Report this comment

    Brian Clegg said:

    Linking this with

    Bronwen’s finding yourself on Google entry I was a bit disappointed to discover when trying Google Trends on myself that I get the response Your terms – brian clegg – do not have enough search volume to show graphs. Nobody loves me.

    Still, if I don’t have enough volume, does that mean I’m slim?

  5. Report this comment

    Brian Clegg said:

    Here’s another goody. Put in creativity and you’ll find it’s been searched for most in Singapore, then India, Malaysia, Philippines and Hong Kong. The big English speaking countries, despite their domination of general usage of Google, only come in 6th to 9th (respectively Australia, UK, US and Canada). Does this mean they’re creative enough (unlikely) or they just don’t care?

  6. Report this comment

    Nicholas Wigginton said:

    Since we’re all about blogging here, check out the word ‘blog’:

    it is starting to plateau?

  7. Report this comment

    Justin Krawl said:

    Observing these google trends can indeed be fun. From Rebecca’s comment above, I observed the ‘depression’ trend that she displayed and noticed that depression usually sees a jump towards the end of each year. The Christmas season can sometimes trigger the worst emotions for some.

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