• http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

    I love this type of stuff, very interesting — and these visualisations are useful.

    BUT be aware that Google’s algorythms are far from fool-proof.

    E.g. Python is ranked as the eighth most searched for “programming language” in the US in 2011, according to Google Trends’ Top Charts — in their “Software technology” chart:

    http://www.google.com/trends/topcharts#vm=chart&cid=programming_languages&geo=US&date=2011&a

    Maybe a lot of people were looking for help trying to make their apps work? No, the chart is just seriously skewed by flaws in Google’s algorithm. As you can see, Monthy Python is wrongly counted as a search for the Python programming language! Making it seem more popular than it is. Oops:

    http://www.google.com/trends/explore#cmpt=q&q=Python&date=1/2011+12m&geo=US

    When you drill down you see that they arrived at this ranking by counting searches for the cult comedy brand “Monty Python” as a search for the Python language – in fact Monty Python was by far the most common search for this keyword, and “Python For” came second and was also wrongly counted as a search for the Python programming language.

    Google loves Python and works hard to promote and support it, because it’s what their founding people used for some of their web apps since the early days. There are still many URLs ending in .py to be found on Google websites. You’d think somebody from Google would have noticed the errors by now — especially in this particular chart. Google could easily fix this if they took a closer look at their charts.

    Look closely under the icon for Python in the chart and there’s a gratuitous link to a Python page on Google+. PHP gets a link to the official Drupal website. Under Microsoft’s .NET Framework, instead we get a generic Wikipedia link. When you click on .NET in the chart it takes you through to a search results page with the official website at the top — so where is Google getting the link from? Presumably a deliberate editorial decision. Google could have linked to the official website for .NET, but apparently chose not to, presumably because the staff involved are affected by the profound pathological anti-Microsoft neurosis that is systemic within Google.