Google Correlate

The engineers at Google are a pretty amazing bunch of people, and some of the work they’ve been doing in the area of trends mapping is incredible.

They can now track the spread of disease, and predict outbreaks according to Google searches performed in certain areas – check out Google Flu Trends.

Now they’ve launched Google Correlate – an experimental tool that lets us see data relating to various searches over time. It’s like Google Trends, but in reverse.

It’s easier to explain with examples.

Let’s say someone has just googled “divorce” – what did they Google last week? Last month? Last year? Now we can find out. Disclaimer: I may have totally munted these searches, so please feel free to try your own versions.

  • A year before searching divorce, they were looking up new car models, weight loss and “remove odour”
  • A month before, they were googling “quotes about marriage”
  • A week before: medicines – specifically creams to reduce swelling or bruising.

What about “have an affair”?

  • Four months before: World of Warcraft and “Kings of Leon lyrics”.
  • Three months earlier: pregnancy tests, and weed.
  • Two months earlier: “How long does weed stay in your system?”
  • Three weeks earlier: “pay Victoria secret credit card”.
  • The week before: “how to shave public hair”.

How about “I think I’m pregnant”

  • Six weeks before: beer pong.
  • Two weeks before: “how to get over an ex” and “loss of appetite”.
  • The week before: “sore nipples”.

Sorry, honey, but I think you’re pregnant.

So… “abortion”

  • A year before: Religion in schools
  • Six weeks before: school science project ideas
  • Three weeks before: The names of saints
  • The week before: “Christian views” and “political views”

It’s such interesting stuff, and I’m sure many, many gems are going to come out of the woodwork.

Nice stuff Google, you crazy, information-laden big brother!