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Checking in With Google Trends

From time to time, I find myself visiting Google Trends and punching in keyword phrases. Internet search has been called the database of intentions; with their Trends page, Google shows the change over time in query usage as well as relative popularity of search terms.

I often punch in peak oil or global warming just to see how usage of those terms changes with time. Query volume often spikes on news. For instance, after Katrina searches for gas prices spiked A LOT.

Trends also enables you to compare multiple search terms on the same graph. In this view, you can see the relative popularity of one phrase versus another.

Here's a look at the search volumes for "peak oil" and "global warming" graphed on the same chart:

Care to guess which color corresponds with which term? Unfortunately, the blue line corresponds with "peak oil". I was surprised to see that usage of the search term "peak oil" has been declining over the course of 2006. I take it this is due to the decline in the price of oil and the price of gasoline - especially in the run-up to the US elections in November.

2006 will not be the year "peak oil" breaks into the mainstream ... but we'll check back in with Google Trends sometime in 2007 to see if the database of intentions is shifting focus on peak oil.

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