Google loves data. I’ve reviewed Google nGrams before; built on top of their massive project to scan published books, it’s a way to study how our written culture changes over time. Below, I’ll cover a few more interesting tools, which I hope will be fun for you to play around with:
1. Find what everyone’s searching for with google trends
As I found out when working as a data janitor for an online content producer, people write the funniest google searches about everything from worrying stigmata to their pet hamster. But how do I know what’s important to lots of people?
One way is to search Google Trends. For instance, say I’d like to know who searches for classic anthropologists like Margaret Mead, Franz Boas, and Zora Neale Hurston vs more recent ones like Napoleon Chagnon with his controversial book, and Tanya Luhrmann with her consistently insightful research on our culture and minds.
Typing their names into Google Trends, I’ll see how frequently people search for them, across time and place (CoSchedule explains this some more). For instance, Franz Boas is way more popular than other anthropologists in urban Brazil:
I can also download data about their popularity to Excel, sort it, then upload to infogr.am as a basic infographic: