Cool Tool

November 21, 2006

Posted by Jay Livingston

Google Trends has information about the number of Google searches by time and place. If you go to and enter "turkey," you'll see a graph that looks like this (I've limited it to the US).

Not too surprising. The second line, below the search line, is the trend line for news stories mentioning the word. Of course, you can't be sure whether the newswriters and googlers were curious about recipes or about vacations in Istanbul.

I plugged in "Durkheim" and got this.

Not much interest in Durkheim during the summer. But comes the new semester, I guess I'm not the only one starting with social facts and suicide. Interesting that the sharp differences of 2004 and 2005 aren't repeated in 2006. Could it mean that sociology enrollments are down? Or that more students took sociology in the summer?
(Or it could be an artifact of sampling. Google does not use the total of all searches but selects a sample, though they won't tell you how they arrive at that sample.)

The results also show the top cities in the search— those with the highest percentage of searches for your keyword relative to the total of all searches from that city. Cambridge, MA came in first for Durkheim. But the city with the highest percentage of searches on "sociology" is Piscataway. Somebody help me out here. What's up with Piscataway and sociology?


Top cities (normalized)

1. Piscataway, NJ, USA

2. Madison, WI, USA

3. Cambridge, MA, USA

4. Columbus, OH, USA

5. Baltimore, MD, USA

6. Honolulu, HI, USA

7. Raleigh, NC, USA

8. Philadelphia, PA, USA

9. New York, NY, USA

10. Los Angeles, CA, USA

1 comment:

Kevin Keogan said...

Hi Jay,
Piscataway is where the Sociology Department is located for the Rutgers "New Brunswick" campus. I suppose that might help to explain the results (and the fact that Rutgers Sociology is a VERY active and well respected department, although it is Rutgers football team's rankings that have seen the most attention lately).

Keep on blogging--I enjoy reading your posts,

Kevin Keogan