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New Google Tool To Find Trend Correlations

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the not-causation-tag-in-3-2-1 dept.

Google 76

Kilrah_il writes "In 2008 Google found correlation between seasonal flu activity and certain search term, a finding that allowed it to track flu activity better and more rapidly than previous methods. Now, Google is offering a new tool, Google Correlate, that allows researched to do the same for other trends. 'Using Correlate, you can upload your own data series and see a list of search terms whose popularity best corresponds with that real world trend.' Of course, Google reminds us that correlation does not imply causation."

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Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (2)

NReitzel (77941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250162)

This is a wonderful tool. In the short term, it should allow a lot of people to track interesting trends.

In the long term, though, Heisenberg Rules. If I may paraphrase, "Knowledge of the model, invalidates the model."

Want a real world example today? Stock market. This is why automated make-money tools don't work nearly as well as they should.

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (0)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250190)

Want a real world example today? Stock market. This is why automated make-money tools don't work nearly as well as they should.

My printing press is working just fine, thanks.

Yours truly,
The Federal Reserve.

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250358)

I bet you think going back to the gold standard is smart fiscal policy. You are wrong.

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250714)

I bet you think I do not possess the awesome skills of dryly delivered humor!

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36251926)

I bet you think going back to the gold standard is smart fiscal policy. You are wrong.

I too thought it was smart, but now that you pointed out the obvious flaw in my position, I've changed my mind.

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 3 years ago | (#36252684)

Hell he almost has me convinced as well.

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250262)

I think the stock market is a special case since everyone is trying to get ahead, and everyone who does their homework knows the "tricks" of prediction algorithms. In that sense, the predictions become self-defeating.

The economic theory of voting -- that is, voters will "punish" politicians/parties who preside over an economic downturn and "reward" them for economic prosperity -- is pretty much universally acknowledged, and has been for 20 years. And it's still observable today.

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250592)

meh. I just found a perfect correlation between coconut and egg whites.

coincidence? I think not.

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250906)

Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (2)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251646)

Sure they migrate. Up to approx 100', mostly vertically.

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36252304)

Yes, but the correlation is only valid for the eggs of swallows.

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250308)

This is a wonderful tool. In the short term, it should allow a lot of people to track interesting trends.

In the long term, though, Heisenberg Rules. If I may paraphrase, "Knowledge of the model, invalidates the model."

Want a real world example today? Stock market. This is why automated make-money tools don't work nearly as well as they should.

They work precisely as well as they should. It's just that because they're not adding any information, they will do about as well as the market.

If you use automated tools and are satisfied with relatively low growth, you can split your money into a portfolio that will make a tidy return over time. That's what mutual funds and so forth basically do. You can even steadily shift your money to lower risk funds as you approach retirement. You can make plenty of money this way for the effort you put in, it just takes time.

To beat the market, though, you have to put something in to it. If you had studied Google and knew that they had a really good plan and understood that plan, you would have known to dump your money into their IPO. You would have been contributing your knowledge and talent, and risking your money, and that would have given you a real return.

But that requires understanding a whole company in the context of a whole market, and for every Google there are thousands upon thousands of WebMDs. It really isn't something you can automate.

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250318)

Don't drop a bomb like that and then leave us in suspense!

How well should they work?

Re:Never Forget: Heisenberg Rules (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250404)

Seriously, you don't know what you are talking about. The tool allows you input data and look for correlations. That's about it.

But more importantly, "Knowledge of the model, invalidates the model," what crack are you smoking?

I love people who know nothing about experimental design and research making comments about such things.

US only? (2)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250244)

Unfortunately the service appears to be limited to US search data. Hopefully this will be extended in the future.

Re:US only? (2)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250260)

Other places have privacy laws that google isn't ready to lawyer about.

Re:US only? (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251624)

Privacy laws are irrelevant. We're not speaking of nominative data, here, only ratings of search terms.

Google == free stuff! (2, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250258)

I'm really starting to like this company. Free web browser, free word processor (and spreadsheet?), free language translation, free nudie pics, free scanned books, free email, free Usenet reader, and now this cool Dataset research tool.

Still not sure I want to store my documents on the internet though. (1) Not secure. (2) Government can review the documents without having to ask a judge for a warrant.) But overall I guess Google is a decent company. Why pay for stuff you can get for free and legal?

Re:Google == free stuff! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250400)

Parent is offtopic and a literal karma whore (apparently in an attempt to keep the account going while still posting endless stupid shit).

Re:Google == free stuff! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250646)

“If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

Re:Google == free stuff! (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253474)

That's odd, I don't feel sold. I don't owe Google or its advertisers anything. No slave traders are knocking on my door.

Perhaps you were searching for a less alarmist term?

Re:Google == free stuff! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250676)

Those things you mention are not Google's product and you are not Google's customer. YOU are in effect Google's product. They're selling you to advertisers and "paying" you with those things.

Re:Google == free stuff! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250928)

And if the ads don't make you buy things, then your cost is zero. Meaning the stuff you get in return for looking at the ads is really free.

Re:Google == free stuff! (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251732)

    Nope, you are still the product. Just because you do or don't click the ads doesn't mean much. Your demographic information is their largest product. Everyone who uses Google is a data point that is used for this new product. Where do you think they come up with these cool associations?

Re:Google == free stuff! (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250976)

>>>Those things you mention are not Google's product and you are not Google's customer. YOU are in effect Google's product. They're selling you to advertisers and "paying" you with those things.

Same is true with free TV and radio.
Your statement is 100% true, but
I don't worry about it. (shrug)

What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250680)

Still not sure I want to store my documents on the Internet though.

The Internet is only the communications medium—wires and switches, basically—not some nebulous place where data reside indefinitely. It stores nothing. You documents would be stored on another computer that is similar, in many respects, to the one you are using right now. It happens only to be located elsewhere from your current position.

Not secure.

Explain how is local storage would be more secure than remote storage?

Government can review the documents without having to ask a judge for a warrant.

They can do that now.

Re:What? (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251178)

>>>Explain how is local storage would be more secure than remote storage?

HUGE difference. It requires a warrant to enter my house and obtain the files. A warrant requires probable cause (we suspect he's a murderer, because we smell dead bodies), and review by an impartial judge to approve the warrant.

Remote storage is subject to random snooping by a bored FBI agent browsing through Google's or Apple's or Microsoft's servers. (Thanks to the Patriot Act.)

Re:What? (2)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251876)

  With local storage, you have choices. Who can use my computer? Do I use an encrypted volume? Do I use Windows, Linux/*nix, or Mac? What program(s) do I do it with?

    With Google docs, your spread sheet is in their format. Your letter is in their format. You can export it, print it, and whatever else makes you feel good. They retain your browsing and activity history. They have every email you've sent and received. In theory it's all yours privately. In reality, it's yours, and viewable by everyone at Google, assuming they have the permissions. I won't say it's *all* google employees that have access, but it is greater than 1, which more than you'd want.

    If law enforcement wants to see your remote data, they serve Google with a subpoena or warrant. Google hands the information over, and you may never know. It would likely be done in a court outside of your area anyways.

    If law enforcement wants to see your local data, they serve you with the warrant or subpoena. You can chose to contact an attorney immediately. You know what they took, and what they viewed.

Re:Google == free stuff! (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251644)

I'm really starting to like this company. Free web browser, free word processor (and spreadsheet?), free language translation, free nudie pics, free scanned books, free email, free Usenet reader, and now this cool Dataset research tool.

Free in terms of cash yes, but cash isn't the only form a payment possible. With Google you barter your personal information and habits for all those 'free' things.

Re:Google == free stuff! (1)

surveyork (1505897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36256436)

i.e. Google just wants your (cyber) soul.

Re:Google == free stuff! (1)

razorh (853659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36252162)

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah (blah blah?), blah blah blah, free nudie pics, blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

what?!? where?!?

next product (2)

stormpunk (515019) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250304)

So when do they release the next product: Google Causation?

Re:next product (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250366)

So when do they release the next product: Google Causation?

There is actually a very strong possibility of this. Because sites are ranked by popularity of selection Google itself could well amplify trends. If you do a search for "family health" and the top results are news reports on increased rates, what would your next search be? If you get sick what are you likely to put it down to?

Correlation is causation. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250316)

Just think of all the things I'll be able to prove with this!

Re:Correlation is causation. (0)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250364)

Re:Correlation is causation. (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250722)

dear god... it's only slightly less correlated than babies near airports!

Re:Correlation is causation. (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251968)

Shouldn't there be a 9 month period between the cause and effect? It should be that Excel causes people to make babies. :)

Re:Correlation is causation. (1)

ryantmer (1748734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36254660)

Yes, and apparently Google is closely related (98%!) to kratom, a medicinal leaf from Southeast Asia! http://correlate.googlelabs.com/search?e=google&t=weekly# [googlelabs.com]

I agree with parent's sarcasm - while this is pretty cool, I can't help but feel that it's more of a toy than a tool...

More simply put (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250362)

From TFA: "like Google Trends but in reverse."

Misleading name? (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250384)

This tool finds an association between categorical data, namely a search word and counts for searches of that word. "Correlation" refers to a special type of association, i.e. between two quantitative data, which, correct me if I'm wrong, this tool does not measure. Am I being pedantic here? Or should we take a stand for correct and precise useage of statistical terms?

Re:Misleading name? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250740)

No, it's correlation. You have one data set (numbers of searches through time for the inputted term) and it compares with other data sets (the number of searches thorough time for each term available).

If you click on "Search By Drawing" you can see the two lines - data sets - in the graph: the one you draw and the one with the best correlation from their search terms.

Re:Misleading name? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36252290)

Correlation does not imply association; but correlation is interesting nonetheless. If you can predict one thing via another, more predictable or measurable thing, then you have a way to track elusive data. That it isn't a cause or an associated thing is immaterial.

Think about paid time off. Sick leave is associated with the flu; but paid time off is a condensation of sick leave, vacation time, etc. So people take a vacation day for a vacation, or a vacation day for being sick... now it's no longer associated. A day off is a day off, not a sick day or a vacation day. Go figure. Yet the amount of paid time off taken increases when the flu hits an area, thus giving a correlation. Similarly, when the flu starts to hit an area, or hits nearby areas, the amount of paid time off taken goes down as a hedge in case of sick time. Of course it also goes down when vacations are out of season, and up when vacation season rolls around; it goes down when people start planning for a vacation; etc.

xkcd (2)

SPBesui (687868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250440)

Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there'.

http://xkcd.com/552/ [xkcd.com]

Re:xkcd (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251546)

Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing 'look over there'.

http://xkcd.com/552/ [xkcd.com]

Actually, correlation does IMPLY causation. However, correlation does not EQUAL causation.

Take the following as an example:
I mow my yard with out my shirt on. The neighbor lady sees me and pukes. We can IMPLY from the given data that seeing my giant uni-moob (gut), my white, saggy, hairless chest, and my man-scaped back hair landing strip caused my neighbor to lose her lunch.

As it turns out, she had a stomach bug and had been bio-matter from both ends all day, but without all of the data, we were left with nothing but the implication that my shirtless body caused the spewing.

Imply-Strongly suggest the truth or existence of (something not expressly stated):

Assumptions out the window (2)

Palmsie (1550787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250504)

Correlations are one of those simple statistical terms that lots of non-technical people like to throw around without actually knowing what it means. It's a wonderful tool that Google has provided for everyone but people need to remember what the basic assumptions are of correlations, namely a relatively normal distribution of scores and independence of observations. Independence is especially important if you're tracking search engine results because if you were to look at how many times people Google'd Randy Savage's name the day he died it would influence the subsequent day, ultimately biasing whatever other variable you decided to correlate it with.

Re:Assumptions out the window (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250794)

Ooh, and I'm sure Google's neat linky home page logos on special days weigh on the results too!

Re:Assumptions out the window (1)

DJCater (877532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253482)

Yep:

http://correlate.googlelabs.com/search?e=Sir+Arthur+Conan+Doyle's+birthday&t=weekly# [googlelabs.com]

Look through the past doodles (US/Global ones) here: http://www.google.com/logos/ [google.com] and then search for them here: http://correlate.googlelabs.com/ [googlelabs.com] to see how powerful the doodle is at generating search volume.

Re:Assumptions out the window (1)

DJCater (877532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253536)

http://correlate.googlelabs.com/search?e=Alfred+Hitchcock&t=weekly# [googlelabs.com] is another good example, especially given that this one is just his name and doesn't include the term "birthday" and that searches for his name probably number quite highly anyway.

Are there editors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36250526)

I assume no one bothered to proof read the summery?

Correlation vs Causation? (1)

davevr (29843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250672)

"Microsoft" corresponds heavily with "Windows", "software", "updates", and the like, while Apple corresponds with "Apple Store", "large dog", "extra large dog", and ... "muleys"... wtf?

Correlation != Causation (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250712)

Hmmm. The trends for both Correlation and Causation have a graph similar to the ribosome example given by google. With peaks and troughs of interest that seem to match the semesters of the school year. With less interest in summer, though smaller schools in the southern hemisphere would still be running. And a massive drop off around Christmas when schools world wide would be on holidays. But the two terms have an R value less than 0.91 (I haven't bothered to work out how much less though). So I guess there is some truth in the age old saying, Correlation != Causation.

Re:Correlation != Causation (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250958)

So I guess there is some truth in the age old saying, Correlation != Causation.

That's true as far as it goes, but in this case it's because they're selecting from a very large ensemble of data series to find the one with the highest R. If you account for the number (and sizes) of data series they evaluated to do that, you can estimate the "true" significance level in a realistic way. Statistics leads us astray only when we fail to apply it properly.

Correlation of a preliminary kind may not "imply" causation, but it can certainly suggest it, sometimes very strongly. A repeatable correlation with proper controls on extraneous variables is as close to "proof" as you can get in science. To believe anything else is to assert that empirical observation itself is of no value in understanding reality.

Re:Correlation != Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253170)

.91 is generally considered to be pretty high in social science.

Weird science (3, Insightful)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 3 years ago | (#36250802)

From the Google Correlate Whitepaper:

Trends in online web search query data have been shown useful in providing models of real world phenomena. However, many of these results rely on the careful choice of queries that prior knowledge suggests should correspond with the phenomenon.

Yes, that is how science is done; hypothesis, predict, test, evaluate.

Here, we present an online, automated method for query selection that does not require such prior knowledge. Instead, given a temporal or spatial pattern of interest, we determine which queries best mimic the data. These search queries can then serve to build an estimate of the true value of the phenomenon.

So we have a backwards type of science: Evaluate, test, predict, hypothesis. Cuz hey, if there's a correlation, there must be a relation, and if there's a relation, we can build an estimate of the value of the relation, right? The marketing manager is gonna LOVE this....

Re:Weird science (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251060)

Absolutely correct, this is going to swamp us in false positives. Remember, in order for science to work the way it's supposed to we have to report the negative results as well as the positive results. If 20 groups do the same experiment and only one gets a result significant at p=.05, that "positive" result doesn't mean anything. p=.05 means there's a one in 20 chance of the correlation being random.

It's the same thing here. If Google goes out looking for positive results, and ignores all the negative results this is going to be so skewed as to be worthless.

Re:Weird science (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253498)

It's not designed to answer questions. It's designed to help you form hypotheses. Correlation is not causation but it *might* imply a relation. That's why a human being with a brain looks at the results and goes "hmm, that's interesting".

As an example, "google" correlates well with "kratom", a plant used for herbal remedies. The correlation is very high, too, 0.98! I don't blindly assume they are related, though. But I could parse down to see if any other connections make sense and could then test that theory in other ways...

Btw, "slashdot" correlates with "smart pages", and I'm sure we're all aware, no pages on slashdot have anything smart on them, therefore, case closed! ;)

Re:Weird science (1)

Eric89GXL (1294136) | more than 3 years ago | (#36257552)

Or they could approach it as an engineering problem, where the key is to find signals of interest that have some predictive power. If they add (or have) a feature to partition the data into independent training and test sets either across time or across sites, preferably permuting over some subset of combinations, they can get help mitigate these issues. Without doing things like that, they are (as you point out) failing to address a brutal multiple comparisons problem.

Re:Weird science (1)

Geminii (954348) | more than 3 years ago | (#36273658)

However, it will present many false potential correlations up front and from a single source. That way, researchers can check them all out before some smartass replies to their paper with "Oh yeah? Did you check XYZ, which has a 0.8 correlation? Huh?"

Re:Weird science (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251290)

Yes, that's true, except there's a step before hypothesis. Observe. You're not allowed to use data from your observations that generated the hypothesis to support it, but you are allowed to use data to build a hypothesis in the first place.

As their comic points out, property values correlate to liposuction searches. That's an interesting fact that you might make a socioeconic hypothesis based on. You could then turn to other avenues of research to validate your hypothesis.

Not everything in science is a race to conclusions.

Re:Weird science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36252954)

One of the things that most of the idiots with a 3 digit IQ (e.g. slashtards) forget is that while correlation does not mean causation, that often correlation means there's a common causal factor. property values don't cause liposuction, and liposuction doesn't cause property values, but there is a shared influencing factor for a high cost procedure and a high cost property.

Re:Weird science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253276)

One of the things that most of the idiots with a 3 digit IQ (e.g. slashtards) forget is ....

... are you suggesting there are people with 4 digit IQs?

Re:Weird science (1)

EriktheGreen (660160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36255396)

That entirely depends on the precision of the IQ number, doesn't it?

What if your IQ number is a float number with a non terminating non repeating decimal component? I suppose then people would have an infinite number of digits in their IQ. Maybe we could draw a correlation between the number of digits people mention when reporting their IQ and how anal they are?

Re:Weird science (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36262294)

Then it's not a float. That's an infinite precision number. Floating point numbers have a fixed precision, but not a fixed magnitude.

Re:Weird science (1)

EriktheGreen (660160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36263766)

How do you know the SIZEOF() my float?

Are you saying *your* computer doesn't have arbitrary precision floats? Step into the 25th century!

Correlate the Correlation (1)

crf00 (1048098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251074)

This is great! Now we can finally analyse what people are correlating in Google Trends that tells us what people are searching, then we can use this correlation search data to build Google Correlate Correlate, then we can use this to analyse what people are correlating on things that other people are correlating, then.. then the thing goes on and on and on..

1) Google Search
2) Google Trends
3) Google Flu Trends
4) Google Correlate
5) Google Correlate Correlate
6) Google Correlate Correlate Correlate
7) ???
8) Profit!!!

OMG my head is so dizzy now!!

Google Causation? (1)

islon (1864460) | more than 3 years ago | (#36251894)

How much time until they launch Google Causation?

Possible cause of recession found (1)

mr.gson (458099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36252350)

If you type "recession" into Google Correlate, it tells you there is a correlation factor of 0.9059 with "microsoft word 2008".

Highest normalized weekly search term volume? (1)

DJCater (877532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253210)

Here's a quick game. Try and find a term with the highest weekly search volume when normalized against the usual search volume for that term.

Here are a few that I tried:

http://correlate.googlelabs.com/search?e=inauguration&t=weekly# [googlelabs.com] - 19.637
http://correlate.googlelabs.com/search?e=Michael+Jackson&t=weekly# [googlelabs.com] - 14.537
http://correlate.googlelabs.com/search?e=Olympics&t=weekly# [googlelabs.com] - 11.656
http://correlate.googlelabs.com/search?e=new+year's+eve&t=weekly# [googlelabs.com] - 8.355

Also, check out the "Search by Drawing" option: http://correlate.googlelabs.com/draw [googlelabs.com] - it's great. Draw your own graph and see what search terms correlate with it.

Correlation is evidence of causation (1)

Kim0 (106623) | more than 3 years ago | (#36253288)

A proof that correlation is evidence of causation,
even though correlation does not imply causation:

http://kim.oyhus.no/CorrelationAndCausation.html [oyhus.no]

what year was jesus born? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36253960)

Correlated with State Obesity Rates 2009

  1. 0.8616 what year was jesus born
  2. 0.8384 get free money
  3. 0.8331 who
  4. 0.8282 free baby stuff for expecting mothers
  5. 0.8277 what it is hoe whats up

Autism and Christmas (1)

Kickstart70 (531316) | more than 3 years ago | (#36254984)

So, why do people stop caring about autism at Christmas? http://correlate.googlelabs.com/search?e=autism&e=christmas&t=weekly# [googlelabs.com]

We see people, not topics (1)

vuo (156163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36256744)

Try searching "cellulose". You'll see that Christmas is also a nadir, extending up to New Year. In fact, most of the correlations Google gives you have the same exact pattern: the major peak is every September - it that falls to the baseline around November. A second peak is found in January. I think what we're seeing is students searching for homework answers from the Internet. The correlated words are all those that students are likely to search, most of them being unrelated to cellulose. In effect, we're not seeing ethereal "trends" or "Zeitgeist emerging", but in 20/20 hindsight obviously, only what normal random people do daily. So, congcratulations, based on this correlation, you've developed a theory called college semesters!

Re:Autism and Christmas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36257572)

2 theories on this one:

1) Kids don't react the way parents expect when they get the toys the parents thought they wanted, usually smaller ones choosing to play with the wrapping paper more than the toys.

2) 9 months prior to christmas was the beginning of spring. Perhaps a correlation to this would be "should I use a condoms" in late march/early april.

just for fun (1)

sinrakin (782827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36255652)

I uploaded the closing stock prices of GOOG for the last two years. It showed fairly poor correlations with several random phrases. "Eye won't stop twitching" was my favorite.

Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36256732)

I hope I don't catch the flu using that thing.

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