Friday Fun Link – Google Books NGram Viewer

A Google Labs project, the strangely named NGram Viewer allows you to search for various words and see how their usage in books within the Google Books archive has changed over the past 200 year (or any time frame you specify).

Examples:

  • Hitler
  • Computer (note the weird blip around 1900?)
  • War
  • Socialism
  • Negro
  • Canada (highest rate around 1830 – historians out there, any idea why?)
  • Saskatchewan (nothing until the late 1960’s?  Maybe reflecting the US-bias in Google’s collection?)
  • Astronaut
  • Atheism (perhaps the strangest, most surprising graph of all the words I searched for!)

Comments 2

  1. Peter Pappas wrote:

    Google’s “Books Ngram Viewer” is another free online tool that allows us to visualize information in new ways. I explore how to use the tool in the classroom to help students better understand the research method in my blog post – “How To Quantify Culture? Explore 500 Billion Published Words With Google’s Ngram Viewer” http://bit.ly/gcKJdp

    PS – Ngram includes an Easter Egg – Search for “never gonna give you up” and see what pops up!

    Posted 18 Dec 2010 at 5:30 pm
  2. HeadTale wrote:

    Thanks for the comment.

    I hadn’t caught that you could plot multiple terms against one another as your examples – for different modes of transportation or “trendy” foods – illustrates very well.

    And the Rick Astley Easter Egg is pretty cool too! 😉

    Posted 19 Dec 2010 at 9:26 am

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