Monday, April 14, 2008

007: Garfield vs. Snoopy

What comic strip characters are more beloved than the fat, lasagna eating feline and the cool, aircraft flying pooch?

Garfield vs. Snoopy is a Google Trends battle for the ages, and surprisingly, it's practically over before it begins:

As you can clearly see, Garfield has a substantial lead on his Sunday funnies rival. Whether this is due to the fact that Garfield shares his name with the strip itself, or a case of good ol' Charlie Brown siphoning votes away remains to be seen.

One thing that is certain: Snoopy wipes the floor with Garfield in Taiwan. Maybe because the children there are so familiar with him, as they see his long black ears and big round nose all day while assembling Snoopy Ice Machines for pennies a week:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

006: Vinyl vs. CD

It's no secret that interest in recorded music has been on the decline since the turn of the century - any of the major labels will be more than happy to point out their anemic album sales as proof of this. A more recent trend has been the talk of an emergence in records; you remember - those round things that spin and get read by a needle.

Though much press has been giving to this vinyl revival, the chart shows us that interest has not picked up substantially from even five years ago, and that vinyl searches are but a fraction of a fraction of those of compact discs:

These are trend lines that I'm sure will reverse spots someday. While vinyl has proven itself a lovable, save-worthy commodity, CDs have become disposable reminders of the 90s, along with MC Hammer, Dylan McKay and the Macarena.

The question is, how long will it take for the venerable record to pass the compact disc's substantial lead?

Friday, April 11, 2008

005: Water vs. Coffee

Coffee might be an obsession for people all over the world, but it still has a long way to go before it beats out plain old water in the trends:

This is nothing short a devastating lead for H20. Starbucks could increase its square footage six-fold and still not make a dent.

What city searches for coffee the most? Why Seattle, of course!

004: Dollar vs. Euro

The United States has been in an economic crunch the past year, and one of the best examples of this is how poorly its currency has held its value.

It seems that everything from the euro to the pound to the Canadian dollar to the peso is gaining on the greenback, and this trend is evident in our chart:

Of course, much of the Euro's traffic is the result of folks simply searching for the term itself and not the currency, but nearly any Google Trends chart is skewed by this sort of thing to some degree.

003: Doctor Who vs. Star Trek

Doctor Who and Star Trek are two of the most loved shows in television history, each a cult classic strongly associated with its country of origin.

For decades, the British program that followed the adventures of a time traveler in his telephone box played second fiddle to the American story of a multi-cultural mission seeking to boldly go where no man has gone before. All this started to change, however, around spring 2005 when the BBC resurrected its slumbering icon and proceeded to turn it into one of its flagship offerings.

The immediate spike lead to two instances of the show passing Star Trek in the rankings, and as the Kirk and Spock vehicle continues to hemorrhage hits - despite the promise of an upcoming blockbuster motion picture - Doctor Who trends higher each season, poised to surpass Trek again in Google Trends for the first time since last summer:

As one would expect, Doctor Who obliterates Star Trek in the United Kingdom, while the reverse is true in the US. Australia is the most evenly divided of any nation, and the Time Lord is all but nonexistent in Germany...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

002: Indie vs. Emo

Moving onto more serious matters, let's take a look at indie vs. emo:

We find the two terms battling for search dominance throughout 2003 and into 2004. Then - just as bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco were beginning to make their oh-so-regrettable mark on the music world, indie doesn't just fall behind in the race, it keels over and dies.

Since 2005, emo has been rising the ranks of Google searches and not looking back, perhaps aided by MySpace and Hot Topic clearance sales. I highly suspect the trend line for Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise sales follows the emo line closely, but I'm currently too lazy to look.

001: Obama vs. Clinton vs. McCain

To kick things off, let's take a look at the current presidential front-runners and see how they've done:

As you can see, Clinton was the general favorite search throughout the past five years. Until recently, it had only been passed twice - both times by Obama - first after his introduction to the national scene at 2004's DNC in Boston and again at the beginning of 2007 when he was first speculated to be a candidate.

However, we see a very different story since the beginning of 2008, as Obama has not only passed Clinton in searches, but has far exceeded any of the previous highs Clinton set. Interest in all the candidates is falling, however.

It is worth noting how another famous figure does when added to these trends:

Here we see Jesus has traditionally held a big lead over the politicians. Until the primaries, the King of Jews was passed only twice - once each by the terms Obama and Clinton - since 2003. It was downhill for Jesus after his birthday, though, and only recently has he managed to reclaim the top spot (a result of Americans turning from politics to religion?). An interesting side note: McCain has never been bigger than Jesus.