A few days ago Google launched the Google Books Ngram Viewer, a labs project that lets you compare the frequency of word use in published works, and compare these terms over time. For example, the following is a variety of common first names appearing in the English database over the last two hundred years.
Common English first names
You can see that around 1960, the name David suddenly started to gain in popularity. You can narrow the English corpus to American English, British English and English fiction, and also search works in other languages.
Google have recently added the option to filter your search results by reading level. This could be a great feature for teachers. The virtualeconomics blog has turned this tool onto UK newspaper websites, with some interesting results:
No big surprises that the Sun, Mirror and News of the World sit together at the bottom of the list, or that they’re joined there by the commuter freebie Metro; nor that the FT contains almost no “basic” language pages and the most “advanced”. But the middle of the table is more interesting, with the Guardian scoring much the same reading age as the Daily Mail, and the Independent sitting at the top of the qualities isn’t necessarily what I’d have guessed.
via Google’s reading age tool – comparing UK newspapers – virtualeconomics.co.uk
Above — Global trends: Fastest rising / Below — Facebook vs Twitter.
It’s the Google Zeitgeist time of year again, here to demonstrate to me that I have no idea who is famous these days or what real people do online. Facebook just makes it into the top 10 fastest rising search terms, though if you compare it to Twitter, it is much more popular in sheer volume. In fact, it’s much bigger than anything else here.
Amusingly, ‘chatroulette’ tops the list in almost every region, with ‘ipad’ and ‘iphone 4′ always up there too.
Google Zeitgeist 2010: Global / UK