It’s no secret that I’m a long-time Google-booster. I also appreciate a good chart or an interesting statistic more than the next guy. The Google Zeitgeist combines both of these. Google publishes these weekly, monthly, and yearly reports that pick out interesting statistics from the mountain of data they gather about what everyone is looking for on the Internet.
They just released their 2002 Year-End Zeitgeist, containing highlights from the whole year. This example from their timeline shows the number of times per day someone searches for “weight watchers”. Notice how fast New Year’s resolutions are forgotten?
Looking these graphs and statistics makes me realize how much Google has a finger on the pulse of our collective consciousness. For example, you can actually see the anxiety about the sniper rise and fall over the course of October. This sort of real-time data collection would be invaluable for people like politicians and marketers. I haven’t yet heard of Google selling this data, but it seems like only a matter of time. I hope they let also let the sociologists and anthropologists have a crack at it.