Curiosities

Words, Quantitatively

By posted at 2:31 pm on December 16, 2010 2

Google has just released a tool that lets you see how frequently certain words have appeared in the millions of books from all eras that Google has scanned. It’s pretty neat. Here are some presidents, technologies, and the meaning of life.





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2 Responses to “Words, Quantitatively”

  1. Jick
    at 6:12 pm on December 16, 2010

    Check out what happens when you plug in “parsley,sage,rosemary,thyme” …

    This was my first attempt, with three of the more uniquely-named protagonists in great comic novels:

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=Yossarian,Slothrop,Portnoy&year_start=1955&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

  2. Clay Ward
    at 11:25 pm on December 16, 2010

    This seems like a very useful tool. But still… I’m cringing already thinking of how many people will use it and draw earthshaking conclusions from their results. This kind of tool is so easy that it lets us all be armchair social science researchers. Great. Just please everyone just knock off the hubris… just cause google gives you a tool that’s easy to use doesn’t mean you’re prepared understand and share the implications of what you find with it. I sound cranky.

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