Sunday, December 30, 2012

Microbiology / Science Trends in Web Search (2004-2012)

Just caught wind of this Google Trends tool that shows you the worldwide web search interest in any term you give it from the period 2004-2012. It then scales the data over time as a percentage from 0 to 100%, with 100% being the peak of the search intensity.

So I dipped into some science words. Interesting trends below...

-reassuring but no surprise here. Looks like we're now in an exponential growth phase

- odd oscillations that I cant quite put a finger on, but note increasing trend over time

-Note how popular this term was 8 years ago, prior to rush of studies on microbial diversity in hosts, now referred to as microbiome and microbiota

-same problem as microbial diversity, above

-Yowza, trend seems to show pretty big decline with a flatline now. Is this correlated to rise of anti-evolution bills, I wonder.

-again, I take this as a concerning sign. Sigh

-uggghh, more sighs

-positive control in this experiment works!


  1. Look at microbiota, parasitism and mutualism together:

    The google ngram viewer lets you do similar searches on words in books that google has scanned in with dates back to the 1500s. For all practical purposes this same query there isn't interesting until the mid 1800s:

    Now that's comparing occurrences of words vs search terms, so apples and oranges, but interesting nonetheless.

    I think most people still think of symbiosis as meaning mutualism and exclusive of parasitism or commensalism (if they know that one at all).

    Side note: the captcha test I have to pass to post this comment is a Google service that helps them scan those old books:

    1. Mike the ngram viewer is excellent. Definitely going to play around with it a bit more.

  2. I think that weird cyclical trend for microbiota might correspond to the academic year. There's consistent troughs in July/Jan with peaks in Oct/May.

    1. that's a good point Mike and interesting. The troughs are extra pronunced for microbiota. Weird.

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