Recently I’ve been playing with the idea of comparing popularity of various people and ideas. I’ve previously queried Wikipedia pageviews using R but I wondered whether the same can be done with Google Trends or Google Ngrams. Both of these Google services provide interesting insights into relative popularity of various queries. Luckily for me there were other people who created fantastic connections between R and Google Trends and Google Ngrams.
One of the topics that interested me as an experimental psychologist was the changing popularity of two psychoanalysts – Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Knowing that psychology is becoming more empirical I expected that these two gentlemen will start losing their stardom as time goes by.
Trends extracted from Google Ngrams show the peak popularity for both psychoanalysts around 1995. The relative frequency of occurence of their names seems to decline since that time.
However, the last year recorded in the Ngram data was 2008, so things could have changed since that time. To answer this question I queried Google Trends, which shows the relative frequency of Google search terms. I didn’t set the locale in the function so I assume that the results are for global searches (but I used English spelling of the names).
The results from Google Trends support the Ngram results. Decline in popularity of both Freud and Jung can observed by using this measure.
It was just a brief write-up of my analysis so feel free to modify my code: