20 September 2008

Windows vs. Linux vs. Mac vs. Windows Vista (Computers & Electronics)

An article in PC World reminded me that I had thought about doing a computer operating systems face-off in the past. However, this was made difficult in Google Trends due to the many non-OS uses of "windows" as well as "apple." Google Insights for Search can handle this better because it is able to filter for "Computers & Electronics" only. I decided to also include Windows Vista next to Windows in general.

As expected, Windows dominated worldwide but was declining steadily. Linux was second and also decreasing to the point where an ascendant Mac overtook it in December 2007. Windows Vista on its own was decidely not Google-popular: it ended with half the number of its introduction peak in February 2007. This illustrated its lagging acceptance. The data can be compared with market share evolution (source: Net Applications):
  • 4th quarter of 2004
  1. Windows 96% (of which Windows Vista 0%)
  2. Mac 3%
  3. Linux <1%
  • 2nd quarter of 2008
  1. Windows 91% (of which Windows Vista 15%)
  2. Mac 8%
  3. Linux 1%

Notice how Linux generates a lot more buzz than market share. I expected the results to be a bit different in the US alone:

Mac precedes Linux overall and overtook it more specifically already in August 2005. How about Japan?

Linux, albeit still second, is stronger but still is joined by Mac in September 2007. One more comparison: the UK:

Windows is totally dominant here. The cross-over of Linux and Mac took place early, in May 2005.

19 September 2008

Anthropology vs. Archaeology vs. Linguistics vs. Art History vs. Musicology

Tonight, a face-off of five academic disciplines which are somewhat related:

Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of archaeology | archeo... in all years
anthropology 1.19
archaeology | archeo... 1.00
linguistics 0.64
"art history" 0.43
musicology 0.12

All disciplines displayed lows in the summer and at Christmas while peaking in Fall when university is back in session. Also, they all decreased steadily in Google-popularity. Anthropology beat out arch(a)eology for first place, musicology was dead last but had a surprisingly big peak in early 2004. It turned out that this was related to Prince's Musicology album however... Pretty good album I must agree. I'm not sure what that other peak in the news graph in late 2004 represents. But wait, let's see if we got different results when we zoomed in on specific English-speaking countries. First the US as a benchmark:

Scale is based on the average traffic of archaeology | archeo... from United States in all years
anthropology 1.56
archaeology | archeo... 1.00
linguistics 0.52
"art history" 0.58
musicology 0.10

Anthropology was more ahead in the US than in the world as a whole while linguistics and art history were about even now. Next, the United Kingdom:

Scale is based on the average traffic of archaeology | archeo... from United Kingdom in all years
anthropology 0.43
archaeology | archeo... 1.00
linguistics 0.27
"art history" 0.16
musicology 0.01

In the UK, archaeology was twice as popular as anthropology but declined much faster. In the UK, archaeology is not subsumed under a broader anthropology discipline, unlike in the US. Musicology only registered in Google-popularity for the Prince album in 2004 and then nothing... How about Australia?

Scale is based on the average traffic of archaeology | archeo... from Australia in all years
anthropology 0.42
archaeology | archeo... 1.00
linguistics 0.14
"art history" 0
musicology 0

Here too archaeology was more popular than anthropology. Art history barely registered and musicology not at all: I guess they don't like Prince as much down under? ;-) Lastly, let's check on Canada:

Scale is based on the average traffic of archaeology | archeo... from Canada in all years
anthropology 1.52
archaeology | archeo... 1.00
linguistics 0.46
"art history" 0.38
musicology 0

Well, Canada may still have the Queen as head of state but in in this academic face-off they followed the US and not the British Commonwealth... Creeping Americanization, I guess ;-) Anthropology was again king.

By the way, just like with some of the other face-offs, I am constrained to search terms that don't have too many different meanings lest they distort the graphs. For example, "philosophy" is too often used in a non-academic context. I left "musicology" in this face-off in a way to demonstrate the statistical noise produced by such an ambiguous term.

18 September 2008

Bank of America vs. Citibank vs. Wells Fargo vs. Wachovia vs. JP Morgan

While the US financial system is falling apart at the seams, let's have a look at the banks. I chose the top five online banks ranked by total assets (pre-crisis probably) according to NetValley.com:
  1. Bank of America
  2. JP Morgan
  3. Citibank
  4. Wachovia
  5. Wells Fargo

Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of citibank in all years
"bank of america" 1.98
citibank 1.00
"wells fargo" 0.96
wachovia 0.68
"jp morgan" 0.16

So the Google-popularity is as follows:
  1. Bank of America
  2. Citibank
  3. Wells Fargo
  4. Wachovia
  5. JP Morgan

JP Morgan goes from second to last place and was also the only bank not to have an increasing trend line. Someone better versed in the banking system could probably explain this. I just don't know. Bank of America grew the fastest, increasing its popularity advantage.

17 September 2008

Leo Laporte vs. Guy Kawasaki vs. David Pogue vs. Walt Mossberg vs. Cali Lewis

Today, a face-off of five tech journalists:

Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of "guy kawasaki" in all years
"leo laporte" 3.90
"guy kawasaki" 1.00
"david pogue" 0.60
"walt mossberg" 0.30
"cali lewis" 0.20

There's something odd about this 4-year graph—I ran the Google Trends search several times but it came out the same way each time. Notice how all journalists except Laporte have no data until what looks like exactly January 1, 2006? Hmm... fishy. For what it's worth, Laporte overwhelms the field. But let's look at the 12-month graph for whose time span we have a complete dataset:

Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of "guy kawasaki" in the last 12 months
"leo laporte" 2.04
"guy kawasaki" 1.00
"david pogue" 0.76
"walt mossberg" 0.50
"cali lewis" 0.38

Laporte still is twice as "Google-popular" than Kawasaki. There's not much of a clear pattern otherwise. However, I thought I'd try the beta Google Insights for Search in this case, to see if it had data for all five journalists from the beginning of the 4-year span. Lo and behold: it did!

Scale is based on the worldwide 2004-present interest over time
"leo laporte" 45
"guy kawasaki" 14
"david pogue" 11
"walt mossberg" 9
"cali lewis" 3

So what's going on here? I would have thought that both Google tools use the same search-history database but maybe I'm wrong? Google Insights for Search is in many ways more powerful than Google Trends: for instance, it allows one to taylor a time span to any length, down to the level of months, e.g., March 2005 to November 2007. The numbers used are different: scaled to the average search traffic for one of the terms (Trends) vs. scaled (on a 100-point scale) to the total number of searches done on Google (Insights). Honestly, I'm not sure about the real distinction between the two approaches. I don't think that it makes much of a difference for my purpose. Also, the trend lines in Insights are too fine to allow for easy differentiation. Remains the strange omission of pre-2006 data for 4 out of 5 search terms in Google Trends...

16 September 2008

AIG vs. Fannie Mae vs. Lehman Brothers vs. Bear Stearns vs. Freddie Mac

You know what is amazing? We just had hurricane Ike wipe out half a city (Galveston), paralyze the 4th-largest city in the US (Houston)... and though this would normally dominate news coverage for days to come, it is already totally eclipsed by events of an even more horrendous and shocking character: the (ongoing?) collapse and taxpayer-funded bailout of sundry financial behemoths. Nobody knows whether the economy will stabilize or get only worse in a hurry—except John "The Fundamentals of Our Economy Are Strong" McCain of course.

Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of "fannie mae" in all years
aig 3.50
"fannie mae" 1.00
"lehman brothers" 0.80
"bear stearns" 0.60
"freddie mac" 0.40

This 4-year Google Trends graph shows clearly how important today's government take-over of AIG was: it stood head and shoulders above the other bailed-out corporations. Let's look at the 12-month graph:

Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of "fannie mae" in the last 12 months
aig 3.70
"fannie mae" 1.00
"lehman brothers" 0.90
"bear stearns" 0.90
"freddie mac" 0.60

A similar picture emerged here with the exception of the first bail-out (Bear Stearns) peaking in March on bad news. By the time the bad news about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hit in July, its shock value was already less. Finally, here is the 30-day Google-popularity trend graph:

Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of "fannie mae" in the last 30 days
aig 2.20
"fannie mae" 1.00
"lehman brothers" 1.80
"bear stearns" 0.20
"freddie mac" 0.60

The latest once-thought-impossible debacles are just now starting to really grab everyone's attention...

15 September 2008

The Beatles vs. Pink Floyd vs. The Rolling Stones vs. Led Zeppelin vs. The Beach Boys

I just learnt that Richard Wright, a founding member of the rock band Pink Floyd, passed away. A lot of great bands came out of the '60s—some of which incredibly enough are still more or less active! Anyway, which were the most influential ones? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has an unranked 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list and I found which rock groups were the best represented:
  1. The Beatles (7 songs)
  2. The Rolling Stones (6 songs)
  3. The Beach Boys (5 songs)
  4. Led Zeppelin (4 songs)
  5. Pink Floyd (3 songs)

So how did they fare in a Google-popularity contest?

Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of "pink floyd" in all years
beatles 1.70
"pink floyd" 1.00
"rolling stones" 0.75
"led zeppelin" 0.60
"beach boys" 0.20

Yes, you see it correctly: the one band that split up long, long ago while the others are still more or less active, well that band was tops: The Beatles! Here's the Google-popularity ranking:
  1. The Beatles
  2. Pink Floyd
  3. The Rolling Stones
  4. Led Zeppelin
  5. The Beach Boys

Getting back to the occasion of my post, Pink Floyd jumps from last to second place. I think I'm going to listen to Dark Side of the Moon now...

14 September 2008

"Angelina Jolie" vs. "Tiger Woods" vs. "David Beckham" vs. "Oprah Winfrey" vs. "Beyoncé Knowles"

Today, I compared the top five of the Forbes Celebrity 100. This is how they were ranked in June:
  1. Oprah Winfrey
  2. Tiger Woods
  3. Angelina Jolie
  4. Beyoncé Knowles
  5. David Beckham

Scale is based on the average worldwide traffic of "tiger woods" in all years
"angelina jolie" 2.25
"tiger woods" 1.00
"david beckham" 0.90
"oprah winfrey" 0.40
"beyonce knowles" 0.25

So how did these celebrities do in the Google-popularity stakes?
  1. Angelina Jolie
  2. Tiger Woods
  3. David Beckham
  4. Oprah Winfrey
  5. Beyonce Knowles

Jolie dramatically improves on her ranking: she totally dominates regarding online popularity. Winfrey on the other hand is less popular than her celebrity power ranking. By the way, I'm not bothering to include a 12-months Google Trends graph because it does not change the picture.