Google Trends provides a window into the search habits of the world. You can enter a search term and instead of seeing Google search results, you see an analysis of how frequently that term has been used in global searches. The global distribution of searches is also shown. This is an amazing tool, and I can think of a lot of research projects that students could do for school projects that would utilize “Google Trends” and its power. According to the website:

Google Trends aims to provide insights into broad search patterns. As a Google Labs product, it is still in the early stages of development. Also, it is based upon just a portion of our searches, and several approximations are used when computing your results. Please keep this in mind when using it.

Just for grins, I did some searches for the names of my two favorite educational theorists, John Dewey and Paulo Freire. Here is the search for “john dewey” showing cities where people are searching for his name most on Google:

John Dewey: Cities searching

Another tab is available showing the countries where these searches are originating:

John Dewey: Countries searching

I wonder why so many more people are googling “John Dewey” in Puerto Rico?

Here is the city trend report for Brazilian pedagogical visionary Paulo Freire:

Paulo Freire: Cities searching

Recife is the city in Brazil where Freire grew up. Country results are:

Paulo Freire: Countries searching

The USA is not even on the top 10 list! More US educators, students, and other citizens/residents need to be searching for and reading about Freire and his ideas!

Popup menus let you refine your search trend results by region and date. You also can compare two different searches, as I have shown here for “john dewey, paulo freire”:

Searches for Dewey and Freire

Interesting that more Danish speakers seem to be searching for either Dewey or Freire than English speakers.

I can see the possibilities for data analysis here are really unlimited. Bounded only by the imagination and creativity of the user. Wouldn’t this be a fantastic tool to use in schools to help students analyze and understand data?

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