Thursday, April 23, 2009

Who's up, who's down?

Have you checked out Google Trends? Two graphs. The upper graph shows how often people have searched for a particular word or phrase. The lower graph shows you the number of times the topic appeared in Google News stories.

But the really cool thing is that you can compare the level of interest in, and news coverage of, two or more topics over a time period, in a specific country or worldwide.

For example, I wanted to know which of the world's major bad boys was attracting the most attention. So I keyed in
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, and Kim Jong-il. Surprisingly, to me anyway, Venezuela's Chavez topped the other two screwballs with ease on number of searches. Maybe because his name is easiest to spell. On news stories, hard to pick a winner.

What threat captures the world's attention? Since at least as far back as 2004, pirates have received way more attention than either Al Quaeda or nuclear war.

Does anybody care about Canada? Apparently so. Right now, Canada is in a dead heat with France for both searches and news mentions, away ahead of both Germany and the Netherlands.

How about Iran and Afghanistan? After years of being in Iraq's shadow, Afghanistan has now caught up in public attention and in the news.

Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan? Britney wins, not even close.

Air pollution and water pollution? Air.

Musical instruments? Guitar.

Grow hair or remove hair? A big uptrend in growing hair.

Fun.

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