the new google trends both an amazing research tool and amusing rabbit hole 1

The New Google Trends: Both an amazing research tool and amusing rabbit hole

You should be careful on how you interpret Google Trends’ output, however. For example, in the screenshot above, you can see I once again restricted searches for the past 12 month period in the United States and then searched on the words “football”, “basketball”, and “baseball”. If you don’t think it through (as I failed to do), you might believe that the search for “football” might be mainly about American Football instead of what the rest of the world refers to as Football and we in the U.S. call soccer. Then, like me, you’d be wrong because based on the news stories associated with the search, at least some of the searchers for “football” are about soccer. googletrends-4

Google doesn’t restrict the kind of terms you can use for trend searches. In this final screenshot, you can see I searched for the words blue, red, yellow, and green. You can see from the chart that the color pair of blue-red started out relatively close in search interest in 2004 as did the pair of yellow-green. However, over the years, the word “red” appears to be in significantly more searches than blue. And, the search for yellow and green has bifurcated over the years too. Why this is the case is for a much more in-depth research than I conducted. I think though, it shows the kind of questions that can arise from what may have started as a playful or even apparently nonsensical searches. Google Trends can be both a tremendous research tool or a amusing rabbit hole to wander through.

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