Google Labs has released a new tool:
“Google Correlate is an experimental new tool on Google Labs which enables you to find queries with a similar pattern to a target data series. The target can either be a real-world trend that you provide (e.g., a data set of event counts over time) or a query that you enter.”
Basically, Google takes a search term that you enter (“insects”) and examines search patterns for other search terms in its database to calculate a correlation coefficient (r). It’s an extension of Google Trends; it’s looking to see which search terms trend together.
In case you barely remember that statistics class from your misspent youth, the correlation coefficient is a value between -1 and +1. The closer to ±1 the r value is, the more closely correlated the patterns are. The closer the value to zero, the less the two patterns are related.
Of course, we’ve all heard the “correlation is not causation” trope a million times. It’s especially true here; when you don’t even have a hypothesis about a relationship, the data points are just amusing.
For example, searches for “birds” appear to be correlated with “Eliza Doolittle.”
Of course, you know what I searched for. “Pubic Lice” is most strongly correlated with….a host of civil war search terms.
I am frankly rather baffled about why these search terms should be seasonally correlated, unless Civil War Re-enactors are taking things a little too seriously in their search for authenticity.
Give it a spin–what fun correlations can you discover with Google Correlate?