launched a great new tool yesterday that graphs the frequency of occurrence of any search terms from across 500 billion words from 5.2 million books, over the last 200 years, in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish.Google Labs
Called the Books Ngram Viewer, the tool offers a fascinating look at the way that language, literature and culture have changed throughout recent history. I've been typing in all kinds of fun searches and have included screenshots of 10 of my favorites below. What do all these changes mean? It's probably fodder for endless after dinner conversation and drinking games. Some of them are surprising and some are not at all. We would love it if you would share your thoughts and links to your favorite Ngram search results with other ReadWriteWeb readers in comments below. Thanks, Google, for providing this great example of the beauty made possible through indexing large sets of data.
Note that it's not uncommon for books to be mislabeled in Google Books, so you'll find some instances of authors apparently time traveling to write about new inventions years before they existed! Big picture wise, though, these graphs look pretty good.
Changing media types. Hello, radio in WWII era books! And look at the tiny little Internet, just starting to get in the game, there in the right hand corner.
Seven deadly sins. Looks like we're growing less fixated and finding other things to write about.
Angels vs. Unicorns vs. Mermaids. Not even close.
Garlic vs. Onion. We are living in changing times, people.
Carrot vs. Celery Celery probably thought it was pulling into the lead for good. Not so!
Major religions of the world. Indexed literature is growing increasingly diverse.
Phobias and prejudices. Is this a chart of what the world cares about most?
Nerds, Dorks, Geeks and More
Authors: Huxley vs Camus vs Leary vs McLuhan Honestly, I think this one is the one that surprised me the most. If not carrot vs celery.
Want to see more? There's a whole community of Ngram collection going on over at Ngrams.Tumblr.com.