Google Trends: IBM i Traffic Piddling Compared to iSeries
October 18, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Two years ago, I was monkeying around with word clouds to give a visual image of the magnitude of various server brands and technology job related searches. My point was to show the relative important of different platforms based on how many times people mention a brand or post a job for that platform. Last week, I ran across Google Trends, a Web analytical tool that the search giant gives away and pumped in some IBM i-related terms.
Google Trends plots real-time charts for search terms that you pump into it and shows their relative popularity in searches over time as well as in news stories. The searches are relative, not absolute, and Google is doing some massaging of the data to plot the graphs, the company warns. The tool also shows the popularity of search times right now by country, city, and language.
Just for fun, I pumped in AS/400, iSeries, System i, Power Systems, and IBM i into Google Trends to see what would happen. (You can do the same search by clicking this link.) If you are too lazy to click that link, here’s what happened:
Google Trends for various AS/400-related terms. (Click graphic to enlarge.)
Now, I put System i, Power Systems, and IBM i in quotes to ensure that these two terms are near each other, but search engines often ignore commas and other punctuation marks even when you do this so there are a lot of “I hate this Windows system, I could just shoot it” type of news items in this data, I am sure. Google and I are doing the best we can. I am sure there is a lot of Liebert and Hitachi stuff, since they make industrial power systems–you know, the kind that distribute electricity, not flip AIX or i bits. iSeries is a brand used by a couple of different vendors, which further complicates things.
The funny thing about this is you can see when IBM started using the terms System i and IBM i–they just appear out of nowhere. iSeries is goes back to 2000, and is older than this data. AS/400 is still trending down, but is still searched for more than either System i or IBM i, and iSeries is still a very popular search term. By the way, the red letters in the squares are just reference points for items that Google pulls up as part of its keyword trend search. These points seem to be pretty arbitrary, but I was happy to see some IT Jungle pages referenced as I monkeyed around with the search terms.
Just as a sort of control, I pumped in another set of search terms into Google Trends: IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and Google. It’s pretty enlightening. Check it out:
Google Trends for various IT giants. (Click graphic to enlarge.)
IBM and Oracle are tiny, and their trends are basically indistinguishable. (You can see this Google Trend by clicking right here.)
In both sets of data, clearly something anomalous happened toward the end of 2007, with giant spikes in all the data. I think this is an algorithm problem, not a real spike in data.
Anyway, play around with Google Trends yourself and tell me if you come up with anything interesting.