Microsoft and innovation

Google trends 2

My previous post about Google Trends elicited some thoughtful responses.  I examined this chart that first appeared on the Sullivan blog:

The chart showed "blog" as the impressive run-away winner in terms of search volume on Google.  I commented on the lack of a vertical scale, which is essential whenever we want to compare several lines.

The following chart compares NYT and the Wall Street Journal.  Based on this chart, one would conclude that the New York Times enjoys continued strength against one of its fiercist rivals.  Notice that the same line (for New York Times) appeared as a big loser in the chart above but a winner in this second chart.

Now, extracting the line for "blog" and pitching it against "iPod", I get the following chart:

All of a sudden, we don't see the dramatic rise of the "blog" line anymore.  Instead, we notice a close mirroring of search volumes, with iPod searches coming ahead during several periods in time.

Are any of these conclusions valid?  It is hard to tell.  It is hard to tell without the vertical scale.  We can only conclude that our perception of volume growth is conditioned by the specific sets of lines being plotted.  Providing any scale, even an indexed volume measure, would vastly help us interpret these charts properly!


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Kevin Dern

I think these are valid points, but I'm not bothered by the lack of a vertical axis. I see Google Trends as a tool to get only a general impression about the number of searches for various terms.


That is precisely why I asked the question: is it a toy or a tool?

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