Monday, August 22, 2011

Viz: Google Zeitgeist 2010

Most of you may have watched Google Zeitgeist video 2010. Google is one of the most widely used search engines and it receives hundreds of thousands of queries every single day. Google aggregated all the billions of queries it received in 2010 and has analyzed them to find the most frequent queries along with the time patterns during which these common keywords were queried. This information is represented in the form of the Zeitgeist visualization.

The visualization is elaborate and uses different kinds of graphs to represent the statistical information. It also provides multiple filters to view the breakdown of information globally, country and region (state) wise. The data for the visualization is used from some of Google's internal tools and all the spam queries have been filtered out. Also, the graphs do not show the actual number of queries but have been normalized within the range of 1-100. More information about the data and its normalization can be found here.

Most queried globally:
The following screenshot shows the most frequent, important globally queried keywords. It has a zoom in / zoom out facility and the region labels are displayed on the map when hovered on the data points. The play function provided displays the statistics travelling through the months of 2010 and helps get a better view of the querying pattern. This visualization can be found here.

Query trends in USA:
This visualization helps to drill down to view the query statistics across the US. Also, filter options are provided to view queries about celebrities, science, sports, youtube videos etc.
A bar graph presents the keywords that have been most popular in 2010 as compared to 2009. (fastest rising queries). A further drill down option is provided where on the click of a bar in the graph, a line graph is displayed that shows the key events, peaks or lows associated with that query. Also, it allows to choose 2 query keywords, so their line graphs can be compared.

Where it could have been better:
I feel it is a good visualization giving a brief review of the important patterns and events of a year. However, I do think there must be a way to represent the number of times the keywords were queried. Also the slide for the global visualization only allows to view info from a month to remainder of the year. A 2-way slide to specify the duration range would have been nicer.

More information about Google trends and other related visualizations based on queries can be found here.

Another visualization that I found very cool is the TED videos sphere. You can view it here!