10 October 2008

Citigroup/Citibank vs. Wells Fargo vs. Wachovia

Today it was announced that Wells Fargo, not Citigroup, will be buying floundering Wachovia. Just the latest story on Wall Street... Was it inevitable that Wells Fargo would win this battle? I faced the three financial institutions off against each other:

Worldwide, Citigroup/Citibank had the highest Google-popularity, only to be overtaken by the other two in September 2008. Hmm... It looked like Wells Fargo jumped ahead only due to the takeover rumors of Wachovia. The long-term pattern favored Citigroup though. But wait, this was a US event so maybe we need to study only US Google patterns?

Indeed, this time Wells Fargo was the undisputed leader with Citigroup even falling below Wachovia at mid-2005.

Color vs. Colour vs. Windshield vs. Windscreen in Australia, Canada, India, UK and US

Today I faced off two words variants and then looked at their trends in the major English-speaking countries. First, we looked at color and colour, resp. the US and UK variants.

Worldwide, color was more Google-popular than colour. Color saw a decline but colour didn't. Then we investigated color in Australia, Canada, India, the UK and the US.

Color was popular in the US and on a lower level, a declining one at that, in Canada and India. At the bottom, the UK and the US are slowly declining too. Next, the graph for colour in the five countries:

Colour was actually most Google-popular in Australia, closely followed by the UK. India and Canada followed a tad behind. The UK may use some color even while colour is dominant, not so the US where colour really is an alien spelling.

The second word couple is windshield and windscreen:

Worldwide, windshield dominated. Let's look at windshield separately in the selected five countries:

The US was in the lead, followed at some distance by Canada. The UK, India and Australia barely knew the word. Finally, what about windscreen?

The UK and Australia are "crazy" about windshield, not so the other three countries. In conclusion, it is interesting that Canada leaned more toward the US than toward the UK in this admittedly limited test and this was more pronounced for the vocabulary variants than for the spelling variants. Australia leaned mostly toward the UK while India wasn't clearly closer to one English pole than the other.

08 October 2008

Jay Leno vs. David Letterman vs. Jimmy Kimmel vs. Conan O'Brien vs. Craig Ferguson

I faced off five late-night talk show hosts in the US.

Overall, Leno was king of late night though Letterman occasionally peaked higher. Both also displayed a slight downward trend whereas Kimmel and Ferguson were slowly gaining Google-popularity over the years. O'Brien's trend was the most stable. By the way, the best movie about the US late-night talk show phenomenon is The Late Shift.

07 October 2008

Barack Obama vs. John McCain vs. Audience vs. Tom Brokaw

The second US presidential debate took place tonight at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. I followed the same methodology as with the first debate and the vice presidential debate, amended regarding Wordle by my 10-5-08 post. So let's start with the bubble graph displaying length of words, sentences as well as number of words:

Obama and McCain were again close though the latter used a bit shorter sentences. Remarkably, the audience questions contained the longest words, more even than Brokaw's. The moderator also spoke about twice as much as his colleague Jim Lehrer did in the first debate. While splitting up the text in the different speakers' parts, something caught my eye: Brokaw seemed to thank McCain a lot but not Obama. Just to make sure, I counted all speakers' instances of thanking somebody:

What stood out on this measure? McCain made it a point to thank the audience speakers and secondly thanked Brokaw quite a few times. He even thanked Obama 1.5 times—I counted a sarcastic "thank you" only half. Maybe McCain's expressions of gratitude reflected his being more formal and/or older? Or maybe he was trying to counter his rather stern if not grumpy behavior during the first debate? Obama on the other hand didn't thank many people. He thanked two audience questioners but was mostly business. He didn't thank McCain once. Maybe that was a reaction to criticism that he was bending over backwards to him too much during the first debate? Brokaw thanked McCain a lot more than Obama but neglected the audience too.

Finally, we made the "word clouds" again.

Barack Obama

John McCain


Tom Brokaw

I'll conclude with a few quick observations. Obama's no. 1 word tonight was "going," followed by "got," "Sen." and "McCain." Policywise, "health" and "energy" stood out. As for McCain, "know" was tops—invocations of experience? Then came "going," "Obama" and esp. "America(n)(s)." The audience very much stressed "economic"—remember "It's the economy, stupid!" from Clinton's first presidential campaign? As expected, Brokaw said "Sen." most, followed by "McCain" and then "Obama."

Movie vs. Film vs. Flick vs. "Motion Picture" vs. "Moving Picture"

How about a face-off five different terms for a movie?

As expected, movie was most common, followed at quite a distance by film. The other three basically didn't figure in the graph. However, I think we can try to clarify this further: instead of the interest level, let's select the "growth relative to category" (i.e., entertainment) option.

Now we can see growth and decline of all five Google search terms/phrases. Growing from most to least were flick and motion picture. Film fluctuated but stayed at the same level almost. Going down were, from least to most, movie, motion picture and moving picture. I wonder whether these observations correspond with he linguistic evolution regarding which of the words gain and which lose "market share" in the standard vocabulary.

05 October 2008


I realize now that I didn't use the superb Wordle online text analysis website properly: my bad! Of course, one should always read the instructions completely and go over the different settings before using any software. The default graph shows only 150 words but this can be changed. Also, one can, for instance, have the words arranged more or less alphabetically: this facilitates finding specific words. Here are the complete settings I'll be using from now on:
  • language:
remove nos.
remove common English words
  • font:
  • layout:
max. words: word count rounded up to the next thousand
prefer alphabetical order
rounder edges
  • color:
a little variance

The following three posts have now been amended with the improved "word clouds":
  • Sarah Palin vs. Joe Biden vs. Glen Ifill (10-2-08)
  • Barack Obama vs. John McCain vs. Jim Lehrer (9-26-08)
  • Michelle Obama vs. Joe Biden vs. Barack Obama vs. Sarah Palin vs. Cindy McCain vs. John McCain (9-4-08)