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
A fascinating story about a scumbag sales operation, DecorMyEyes.com, who leaned that a link is a link, and Google doesn’t care if it’s a good review or a scathing rant – so why make the effort to give good service?
“Hello, My name is Stanley with DecorMyEyes.com,” the post began. “I just wanted to let you guys know that the more replies you people post, the more business and the more hits and sales I get. My goal is NEGATIVE advertisement.”
It’s all part of a sales strategy, he said. Online chatter about DecorMyEyes, even furious online chatter, pushed the site higher in Google search results, which led to greater sales. He closed with a sardonic expression of gratitude: “I never had the amount of traffic I have now since my 1st complaint. I am in heaven.”
The strange part is that Google is intimately familiar with the rage inspired by DecorMyEyes. If you type the company’s name in a Google Shopping search, you’ll see a collection of more than 300 reviews, many of them arias sung in the key of livid.
In short, a Google side stage — Google Shopping — is now hosting a marathon reading of DecorMyEyes horror stories. But those tales aren’t even hinted at in the company’s premier arena, its main search page.
“It’s fair to say,” Mr. Sullivan concludes, “that this is a failure on Google’s part.”
via For DecorMyEyes, Bad Publicity Is a Good Thing – nytimes.com