Google Books Ngram Viewer

This has been blogged about quite a bit over the last few days, but if you’re looking to kill some time at work with something vaguely BI-related then take a look at Books Ngram Viewer, the latest thing on Google Labs:

It’s pretty simple: it allows you to visualise the number of occurrences of words in books held in Google books by year of publication, and therefore track the popularity of ideas and concepts over time (well, that’s the theory). You can even download the source data – if I’ve got some spare time it might be interesting to see this data in PowerPivot…!

There are already some interesting examples of things you can see with this data out there, for example on the Information Is Beautiful site, and on the Google Blog post announcing it. I can’t resist adding one more, though: Microsoft vs Oracle vs IBM vs Google – notice how IBM peaks in about 1988 then declines; Oracle and Microsoft have a similar peak in 2004 and then decline; while Google is still on the up…

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